A 40-year-old Meriden man who was trapped as fire tore through his multi-family home in Meriden on Wednesday night has died.
When firefighters responded to 45 Hillside Street just before 11 p.m. Wednesday, flames were pouring from the first- and second-floor windows.
"It was horrific. I actually have never seen a house fire like that before," said neighbor John Lippold.
They learned one person, Kevin Appell, was trapped inside. Intense fire and heavy smoke thwarted rescue efforts, and two firefighters suffered minor injuries.
"There was a lot of fire when they arrived and that made entry to the building difficult," explained Meriden Fire Chief Ken Morgan.
Once they brought the blaze under control, crews were able to get inside the home. They found Appell on the second floor, but it was too late, fire officials said. Appell was pronounced dead at the hospital.
“It was very frightening. I went over there to try to help, but nobody could get over there. The apartment was just engulfed with flames,” said Lippold.
Three firefighters suffered minor injuries while trying to rescue the man, but are recovering.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.