NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH)– An 11-year-old boy is dead, 11 other people now homeless due to an overnight fire in a multi-family home in New Britain.
Flames tore through that house at 756 East Street in the middle of the night. There were multiple 911 calls around 1:30 a.m. New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart said that when fire crews arrived they found “Family members screaming that there was a son who was still in the building.”
Several firefighters tried to go in and find that 11 year-old boy, one even got hurt trying.
“He sustained some burns on his leg and he’s shaken up,” said Mayor Stewart. “Of course feeling badly that he couldn’t get to the boy.”
Nobody could get to the boy until it was too late. They found his body up on the third floor. His name was Cade Townsend Junior, and he was a student at Chamberlain Elementary School just a block away. Crisis teams are already there to help students deal with the loss.
“There are various ways that we allow students to do this,” explained the school district’s Chief Operating Officer, Paul Salina. “Some will write a note about the child, if they knew the child. Some will write a message to the family, so there are various ways that we have the students participate.”
Salina said the schools will also collect clothes and other necessities to help out the families displaced by the fire. Each of the three floors of the house was an apartment. In all, a dozen people were inside. All except the boy got out unharmed. Friends and neighbors are already mourning that young life. Jackie Boucher lives nearby and is creating a memorial, even though she didn’t know Cade.
“My nieces and nephews are very upset and it’s just horrific,” Boucher said. “I’m happy that 11 people made it out, but by the same token it’s horrible that one did not.”
The Red Cross is helping residents find somewhere to stay. Meanwhile, city and state fire marshals are combing through the wreckage to figure out what started the fire. Early indications are it started on the front porch. New Britain’s Fire Chief indicated the older construction of the building allowed fire to spread more quickly than it would have in more modern structures. Fortunately, there were working smoke detectors inside.