Woman and cats rescued from burning home in West Haven

(WTNH/ Joe D'Addese)

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Firefighters rescued a woman from a burning home in West Haven early Tuesday morning.

Fire officials say the fire broke out at around 3 a.m. on the unoccupied ground floor of a two story, two family home on Center Street. A man, his girlfriend and the man’s little brother were all asleep on the second floor when the fire started.

The man and his brother were able to get out of the home but the woman was trapped inside.

“The 911 operator was on with a second floor occupant who had limited mobility and could not make it out on her own,” said West Haven Police Department spokesman Sgt. David Tammaro.

The trouble for her and for firefighters was the flames had burned away the steps leading upstairs.

“Crews set up an internal ladder. We made second floor. We were able to get the individual out via the back stairwell and get her off to the hospital.” explained West Haven Fire Department Capt. Mike Buonasora.

While she was treated at Yale New Haven Hospital, firefighters turned their attention to the other upstairs residents.

“There were several cats on the second floor,” Buonasora said. “One escaped prior to our arrival. We got one out right away and we just found three more They’re all okay as well.”

With everyone rescued, crews focused on what happened. That ground floor should have been empty, so how did a fire start? The State Police brought in a dog to sniff for accelerants, something that would prove this fire was intentional. Investigators spent hours pulling apart that stairwell. Police said something made them treat this fire as suspicious.

“There were some items that may lead it to that,” said Sgt. Tammaro. “It’s just standard practice that we kind of look into that to get that out of the way.”

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