Thick smoke and violent explosions, possibly from ignited gasoline, forced two adults and a baby from their Waterbury home Thursday night, according to police and officials with the Red Cross.
"I noticed the smoke. I dialed 911, and shortly after that, we heard two, three explosions. And after that it just went up in flames," said Duwane Digsby, who lives next door to the burning three-family house at 69 Dikeman Street.
Digsby said emergency officials told him and his family to leave their home when explosions rang out, forcing firefighters to exit the building and fight flames from the outside.
"Blew out all the windows. We were lucky we didn't have guys up there," said Deputy Fire Chief Richard Paltauf. "There were some motorcycles on the third floor. Maybe it was the gasoline from that."
Firefighters believe flames broke out somewhere on the third floor's rear porches. The one family that lives in the home – a 19-year-old woman, her boyfriend and her 4-month-old child, according to relatives – was not there when the house ignited.
"I'm a big guy and it scared the heck out of me," said neighbor Ryan Mullen. "The smoke was black, and it was so black on the street that you couldn't really see in front of you."
None of the residents or three dozen firefighters on scene was injured. Fire officials said they're investigating the cause but that the fire does not appear to be suspicious.
Investigators are trying to figure out what cause a fire and explosions at a three-family home in Waterbury on Thursday night.
The home is a loss.