Twenty-one people and a number of pets were evacuated from a senior housing complex on Babcock Avenue in Plainfield after a fire broke out Friday afternoon, fire officials said.
The fire started in the building laundry room just before 4 p.m. Friday at the Lawton House on Babcock Avenue while a contractor was working to thaw frozen pipes, according to the fire department.
"We do believe that somehow their actions ignited some combustible items within the wall," said Plainfield Fire Marshal Paul Yellen. "The fire then spread up through the wall."
According to the town fire chief, two people were taken to the Backus Emergency Care Center in Plainfield for treatment of smoke inhalation.
Evacuated residents were sheltered at the nearby Villa Maria Nursing Home and have been moved to the Town Hall auditorium, fire officials said.
Three of the facility's 23 apartments are not livable. Utilities have been shut off to the building and it will remain evacuated overnight, said Red Cross Emergency Services Director Susan Bolen.
The property management company is providing several hotel rooms. Other residents are staying with family members, according to the Red Cross, which arrived on scene to provide food and clothing for the residents.
Firefighters from Thompson, Killingly, Griswold and other surrounding towns provided mutual aid.