Woman hospitalized after West Haven fire

Nine escape burning home in West Haven, Feb. 20, 2014. (WTNH / Jeff Valin)

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — An elderly woman was carried out her burning home in West Haven this morning and taken to the hospital. Several pets were killed.

There was plenty of fire and ice to challenge West Haven firefighters when they arrived at 70 Wilson Avenue just after 5:00 a.m. on Thursday morning.

“We had bumps and bruises to the firemen, on falls. No freezing of the hose lines,” said Deputy Chief Steve Scafariello, West Haven Fire Department.

That was fortunate, but it was nearly much worse.  With nine people in the house, the biggest scare came when it was clear that only eight had evacuated, and the one left behind was an 80-year-old woman.

“Engine 32 went in to primary search mode, found the victim in the first-floor living room area, an elderly female.  They extricated her from the building, she was transported to Yale,” said Dep. Chief Scafariello.

“She has dementia, so her mind’s not right.  The fire department got her out.  She fought ’em all the way but she’s okay,” said Paul Lipford, the woman’s son-in-law.


(WTNH / Jeff Valin)
(WTNH / Jeff Valin)

Lipford explains how it all began.

“The fire started in the basement.  My stepdaughter alerted everybody from the smoke alarm, and I got everybody out of the house; we got everybody out,” he said.

Firefighters say that this is yet another classic case of how a smoke alarm probably kept a situation from becoming tragic.

“Absolutely.  With nine people living in the house the smoke alarm was key to early detection, and she was able to wake the rest of the family and possibly save fatalities,” said Dep. Chief Scafariello.

On a possibly sadder note, although two dogs and a pet parrot made it out okay, it was still unclear how many of the six cats in the household survived.

“We’re getting them out, one-by-one.  We got all the other pets out,” said Lipford.

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