Repairs Begin After Fire at New Haven Senior Living Center

Thursday, Aug 15, 2013  |  Updated 4:50 PM EDT
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A fire at a New Haven apartment building sent two firefighters to the hospital and left some elderly and disabled residents stuck in their homes

Seth Lemon, Steve Pancione

A fire at a New Haven apartment building sent two firefighters to the hospital and left some elderly and disabled residents stuck in their homes

Two firefighters were injured and several people were evacuated from a senior living community in New Haven after an electrical fire broke out around 4 a.m. Aug. 14.

Sixty firefighters responded to Bella Vista Apartment complex on Eastern Street after a fire broke out early Wednesday morning.

The building manager said the situation is manageable and efforts are focused on getting elevators back into service and getting residents upstairs and into their homes.

Officials from the Carabetta Management Company said a new electrical system will need to be installed and that repairs could take more than three weeks.

"Please be assured we have crews working 24 hours around the clock to restore the buildings [sic] residents to their homes," said the management company in a statement released Thursday. "In the interim, all affected families have been provided housing at local hotels."

Officials at the scene said two firefighters suffered flash burns to their face, likely during an explosion that happened during the fire. A third firefighter was also treated for injuries, authorities said.

Fire officials said the fire broke out in the electrical closet on the 13th floor and spread down to the 9th floor.

Several elderly and disabled residents needed help getting out of their homes. People who were away from the utility closets sheltered in place.

Jeff Trottman was home when the fire started and saw smoke filling the hallway right outside his apartment.

“I was watching a movie, and I heard a big bang. And I said, ‘Wait a minute. That wasn’t a part of the movie,’” Trottman said.

The fire was heavy but it was contained to the utility closets, officials said.

New Haven Fire Chief Michael Grant commended his crews for keeping the fire under control.

His crews were hiking up the stairs, lugging heavy equipment through heavy smoke and heat.

“So the members did a good job in stopping the fire from spreading further,” he said.

Trottman said that in a building that’s home to several with limited mobility and other needs, this should be a wake-up call.

“They had a problem because many people had wheelchairs, and some of them couldn’t get down, like me,” Trottman said

One resident was also transported to the hospital because of shortness of breath.

According to the Carabetta Management Company, repair updates will be posted online and will be available through the company security office at 203-468-1531.

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