State police said the fire last year on Valley Street in New Haven that claimed the life of 30-year-old firefighter Ricardo Torres Jr. started in the basement of the home. They have not been able to determine the cause of the fire due to the extent of damage and lack of physical evidence, but said there is no criminal aspect.
The Connecticut State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit was investigating the cause of the fire on May 12, 2021 at 190 Valley St. that resulted in the line of duty death of firefighter Torres.
The 911 calls came in around 12:44 a.m. reporting a fire and firefighters were soon notified that someone was trapped in the building, police said, an elderly woman was rescued from the first floor of the two-family home.
Investigators said conditions in the home rapidly deteriorated as firefighters attacked the fire and Torres’ radio transmissions indicated he was under duress.
Torres was unresponsive when he was pulled from the second floor and he was later pronounced deceased after being transported by ambulance to Yale New Haven Hospital, police said.
Lt. Samod Rankins was also rescued from the structure and sustained serious injuries, which required a lengthy recovery.
Police said Thursday that the fire origin and cause investigation determined that the fire started in the basement of the structure and spread to the first and second floors, causing severe fire and collapse damage.
Because of the extent of damage and lack of physical evidence, the cause of the fire was not able to be determined, police said, adding that there is no criminal aspect.
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