New Year's Eve Fire Displaces 120 in Bridgeport

About 120 people families were forced from their homes on New Year's Eve as a two-alarm fire ripped through a condo building in Bridgeport, Connecticut and raged for hours.

Police have started to tear down the walls of the complex Thursday night.

Officials from the Bridgeport Fire Department said they received a call around 6:15 a.m. and arrived at 215 Charles Street to find fire engulfing the condo building, which contains around three dozen units. Firefighters used aerial ladders to rescue people trapped inside.

"We basically avoided, in this terrible fire, any injuries," Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim said during a news briefing Thursday morning.

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One firefighter suffered a minor injury and was taken to the hospital but later returned to the scene. No residents were hurt.

Part of the building collapsed, several units were destroyed and residents lost everything, from Christmas presents to their shoes. 

Temporary shelter will be available at the Geraldine Johnson School at 475 Lexington Avenue. Displaced residents will be provided with cots, blanket and food. What will happen in the long-term is uncertain. 

"We're going to do everything we can to make the transition from here to temporary housing, and hopefully to permanent housing — replacement for individuals — our office will do that," Ganim said.

During the media briefing the mayor told a little boy that they would be going shopping for new shoes and toys.

"This is a building. I don't mean it's not a great loss — it's a loss — but no one lost a life here. Nobody got injured," Ganim said. "We're all going to make a smooth transition in 2016."

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Bridgeport, CT condo fire... 215 Charles St

Posted by Leslie Mayes on Thursday, December 31, 2015

The fire appears to have started in the garage, where several cars were burning under the building, and several residents said they woke up to find smoke and hear booms from below. 

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

How to help the families: 

The displaced families are in need of clothing for boy and girls, from infants to teenagers, clothing for men and women of all ages, toys for all ages, food for people and food and items for cats and dogs.

You can drop the donations off at Health and Social Services, at 752 East Main Street in Bridgeport.

Donations of clothing, food and other necessities will be accepted from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at city Hall Annex, 999 Broad Street today and Saturday.

For monetary donations for the families, contact:

The Red Cross 
c/o Charles Street Fire
158 Brooklawn Avenue
Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604
Phone: 1-877-287-3327

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