BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP/WTNH) — A fire at a condominium building before sunrise Thursday left more than 100 people homeless and destroyed their Christmas presents and other belongings, city officials and residents said.
Firefighters responded to the four-story, 36-unit building in Bridgeport shortly after 6 a.m. and rescued a resident from the third floor. The resident was taken to a hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, and a firefighter was treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital.
Fire officials said all the residents got out of the building safely, but some of them reported losing pets.
“I heard a boom and starting to see smoke coming up from the rug,” first-floor resident Alexander Otero told the Connecticut Post. “I knocked on everyone’s door and told the people to get out. Everybody got out safety. Everyone.”
As for belongings, there wasn’t much left.
“Almost everybody lost everything they own,” resident Alix Michel-Mathieu said.
A car fire in the basement garage spread to other vehicles and the rest of the building, authorities said. The cause is under investigation.
Part of the structure collapsed, and an emergency demolition was planned for safety reasons.
A temporary shelter for the displaced residents was set up at a nearby school.
“We basically avoided, in this terrible fire, any injuries,” Mayor Joseph Ganim said. “This is a building. I don’t mean it’s not a great loss — it’s a loss — but no one lost a life here.”
Ganim said his office will help the displaced residents find temporary housing and, later, permanent housing. The American Red Cross also is helping the residents. The organization says it is helping 26 families, 49 adults and 30 children. The families have been provided with “comfort kits” containing personal care items they may not have been able to grab when leaving the residence.
Ganim also took some children who lived in the building shopping for new clothes and toys.
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