70 Displaced After Hartford Fire

Around 70 people were evacuated from an apartment building at 2604 Main Street in Hartford and an adjacent building on Thursday night as a three-alarm fire raged and a firefighter was hospitalized.

People were in the building when the blaze began around 6 p.m. and everyone was ordered out as firefighters worked to extinguish it.

About 40 families were displaced and the city has booked a block of 50 hotel rooms for them to have a place to stay. The American Red Cross is helping 67 people, including 28 adults and 39 chidren from 18 families.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra called this one of the most intense fires he's seen.

“This is one of the most severe fires I’ve ever seen in the city in terms of witnessing it," Segarra said. "A lot of that has to with a lot of high wind and the asphalt and tar roofing which has consumed itself very fastly.”

Smoke consumed the neighborhood and flames continued to pour out of the apartment building for hours. Between 75 and 100 firefighters from three departments responded and spent at least five hours at the scene.

“Unfortunately, while this fire was burning, there was another fire (that) erupted in another part of town and fortunately we had mutual aid resources from West Hartford and East Hartford combat that fire," Hartford Fire Chief Carolos Huertas said, referring to a fire on Lawrence Avenue.

The building was equipped with a fire alarm system and everyone made it out alive, Hartford firefighters recovered a cat thought to be lost in the blaze and a firefighter was sent to Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford to be treated for smoke inhalation.

The building where the fire started has been deemed a total loss, so no one can live there again, but officials are hopeful that residents at the adjacent building can return soon.

Hartford fire officials said that the residents willl not be let into the adjacent building until demolition of the building destroyed in the fire is complete. The demolition is expected to be done by Monday.

The management company that owns the building is taking residents into the building Saturday to salvage what they can of their belongings and get what they need, according to fire officials.

The Phillips Metropolitan church is also holding a night of fun for the kids in the displaced families on Friday night to keep them from being cooped up in the hotel.

The cause of the fire is unknown because it was too dangerous for the fire marshal's office to do an extensive search of the building, but the fire remains under investigation.

On Thursday April 2, there was another fire on the same street, about 1.2 miles away at an abandoned building at 1363 Main Street, prompting city plans to tear down the historic structure built in 1890.

Firefighters rescued a man who was squatting in the building during that early April fire and officials said he admitted to police that he burned a paper bag inside. He was taken to the hospital before being charged with third-degree trespassing and reckless burning.

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