WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — It might be hard to see any good from the destruction of the massive fire on Lounsbury Street Wednesday night, but Waterbury Mayor Neal O’Leary does. When he toured the site today, he said a miracle happened here.
“Thank God no one was hurt, no one killed, and the city of Waterbury is stepping in strongly to make sure everyone is housed and taken care of appropriately,” the mayor said.
The American Red Cross said on the night of the fire, they took care of 37 displaced residents — 20 adults and 17 children. Dorrell Bass was one of those adults. He lost everything he owns when the flames gutted his home.
“I feel empty and lost,” Dorrell said.
Mayor O’Leary heard him make those comments and offered help from the city.
“We’ll take care of you,” he said. “Get you whatever you need.”
The mayor told News8 displaced residents should go to the third floor of the Waterbury Health Department during normal business hours. That’s where the city will arrange to put them up in hotels temporarily and work to try to help them find permanent housing.
Dorrell is sorry that he lost his home, but he’s grateful that he didn’t lose his brother — who was home when the fire started. His brother has trouble speaking so he couldn’t scream for help.
“That’s my only brother. I love him with all my heart,” Dorrell said.
Fortunately for Dorrell, his upstairs neighbor was there to check on him and make sure he escaped the flames.
“I tell him my thanks because he saved everything,” he said. “My brother’s life is saved.”
That’s why Dorrell agrees with Mayor O’Leary — despite all of the destruction and loss — there was a miracle out there.
“It’s a tragedy in itself that they lost all of their belongings, but thank God no one was hurt, no one killed, and the city of Waterbury is stepping in strongly to make sure everyone is housed and taken care of appropriately,” the mayor said.
As of the writing of this report, four firefighters were taken to the hospital, but the fire chief says they should be okay. Two have been released and the others are expected to go home shortly, as well. Chief David Martin is proud of his crew — and crews from neighboring cities and towns — who stepped up to risk their lives to protect others.
“They certainly went above and beyond,” Chief Martin said. “I don’t think there are too many places you can go and have four fires burning simultaneously and be able to manage them and get them out in a matter of a few hours.”
Demolition crews knocked down three of the houses. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.