WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Fire investigators in West Haven are trying to determine what started a fire in a condo unit on Bull Hill Lane that killed a man early Monday morning.
It is not the way anyone wanted to start the work week, and certainly not the way the kids who live in the building wanted to start the school year, but the fire alarms went off at about 4:30 a.m.
When firefighters got to the Orange Landing condos at 153 Bull Hill Lane, they couldn’t even tell where the fire was. Once inside they discovered the flames were mostly contained inside the bedroom of a ground floor apartment. There was a man was inside that bedroom, alone.
“We had 15 firefighters on the initial alarm with a quick knockdown and a quick rescue,” said West Shore Fire Department Chief Stephen Scafariello.
As quick as the rescue was, it was still too late to save the victim. He was pronounced dead at Yale New Haven Hospital. He was the only person who did not safely get out of the building on his own.
“A lot of people had to be evacuated, but people did a great job of getting out on their own,” Safariello explained. “The alarm activated and, on our arrival, a lot of peole were outside already.”
Fully functioning alarms are no accident. Orange Landing has 150 units, and the Dash Management, the management company that runs it says that in the past months, the West Haven Fire Department has donated 90 new smoke detectors.
“We have been going every three weeks, knocking on people’s doors,” said property manager Nicole Clark. “The fire department’s been checking each and every smoke detector, making sure all the fire doors close and all the unit doors actually close.”
Without those precautions, the fire could have spread to the rest of a building that is full of children. Those children were able to head off to the first day of school, as normal. The fire chief says all those doors kept the flames contained to just the one unit.
The Fire Marshall is investigating the cause of the fire.The identity of the victim has not been released, pending notification of his next of kin.
This is a developing story and News 8 will update as more information comes in.