Firefighter Injured Battling Fire in Vacant Building in Willimantic

A firefighter is recovering after getting injured while battling a fire at a vacant building in Willimantic early Wednesday morning.

Officials said the firefighter suffered a minor back injury while fighting the fire that broke out at a vacant building on Chapman Street shortly before 4 a.m.

When firefighters arrived to the building, they said there was heavy fire showing in the front on the right side of the building. The strength of the fire forced firefighters to fight the flames from outside of the building. The fire partially collapsed the roof in the back of the building.

"There's going to be a lot of hot spots. It's an older building so it's got a lot of voids in it," said Willimantic Fire Department Captain Ron Palmer.

Fire officials said the building has been vacant for a number of years and in that time, firefighters have responded to several fires there.

"I've been in this department for 22 years. This is my third fire at the building so I believe it's been vacant for several years," Palmer said.

Nobody was inside of the building at the time of the fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

On top of dealing with the scorching flames, firefighters also had to deal with extreme humidity. 

"It's brutal. It really wears you down so it's probably decreasing our effectiveness by at least 50 percent," Palmer said.

Chapman Street is closed from Ives Street to Elm Street. There is no word on how long the road will be closed for.

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