Six firefighters are recovering from injuries they sustained while fighting a fire on Arthur Street in New Haven early Wednesday morning.
More than 50 firefighters responded to a fire in the basement of a home at 20 Arthur Street around 5:40 a.m. Firefighters say the home has balloon frame construction which caused the fire to quickly spread straight up the floors. It heavily damaged the second and third floors before burning a hole in the roof.
Both the second and third floors of the home are uninhabitable, according to the fire department.
Twelve people including seven adults and five children were able to escape before firefighters arrived. The Red Cross is helping both families find temporary housing until repairs can be made.
"It's just crazy, unexpected. You think you're going to celebrate Fourth of July today and then your house burns," said Montasia Brockenberry, who escaped the fire with her 7-month-old son.
Heat from the fire combined with Wednesday's weather led to six firefighters needing medical treatment. Officials say one firefighter suffered an eye injury while fighting the fire and was transported to the hospital. The other five firefighters were treated for heat-related issues on the scene. Officials say the firefighters had to deal with heavy smoke, heavy hoses and mattresses that all contributed to heat exhaustion.
“With the heat and 80% humidity, it exacerbates the firefighters’ work. As you can see they wear heavy gear, 100 plus pounds, so it doesn’t help the situation. Firefighters get heat exhaustion," said Assistant Chief Orlando Marcano of New Haven Fire Department.
Several nearby homes were also evacuated as a precaution which left many families standing in the heat for hours.
"We have been out here for three hours already so we just got drinks for the kids, make sure the kids are ok and everything,” said Jennifer Cortez of New Haven.
Investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire.