BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH)– State Fire Marshals are investigating a fatal fire in Bristol at the Lakewood Apartments Monday.
“It was scary,” said Samantha Hebenstreit, who was home when the fire trucks arrived. “There was flames and smoke coming from either side of the condo.”
Smoke started wafting from the roof eves and windows just after 4 p.m. Adam Hebenstreit lives a couple of units down and took pictures as firefighters tried to enter the burning unit. He had his daughter and son with him at the time. He got them out of their condo unit as firefighters started to battle the blaze. When the fire was out, a man was found sitting in the front window.
“The fireman was at the front door and I don’t think he even got the front door open, and the flames just burst through the front door,” said Adam. “It just came out like a big ball of fire.”
The fire marshals have been going door-to-door, unit-by-unit, checking for smoke and fire damage, and any electrical problems. Each unit on either side of the fire sustained heavy smoke damage. Now, fire investigators are trying to figure out what started the fire. Mayor Kenneth B. Cockayne says it’s still very early in the investigation, and fire marshals are still trying to positively identify the victim and notify next of kin.
“It’s not what anyone wants to hear, a fatality,” said Mayor Cockayne. “The fire department is right down the street and they responded very quickly. It was a tragic ending.”
Neighbors say the man that lived in that unit was terminally ill with cancer. Despite the best efforts by firefighters, Adam Hebenstreit says the flames were too intense to make an entry into the building.
“All of a sudden I saw the fireman in front of the door and the flames just gushed right out,” said Adam.
Firefighters believe the fire started on the first floor of the condo.