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West Hartford Fire Department Rescues Construction Worker Who Fell Through Floor, Extinguishes Fire Under Solar Panels

1031 New Britain Ave. is in the process of being transformed into a self storage facility. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Within the span of a few hours the West Hartford Fire Department rescued a construction worker and extinguished a fire on the roof of a residence.

By Ronni Newton

A construction worker who fell several stories when a newly-poured concrete floor failed was rescued by the West Hartford Fire Department Thursday morning and transported to an area hospital for treatment of injuries that were deemed non-life threatening.

According to West Hartford Fire Department Battalion Chief Keith Albert, dispatchers received a call at 11:17 a.m. regarding an injured construction worker at 1031 New Britain Ave. The property, formerly occupied by Bally’s Total Fitness and vacant for many years, was sold in October 2020 to A Storage Solution LLC and is in the process of being transformed into a self-storage facility.

While responders were en route, crews were informed that dispatchers had learned that a floor was partially failing at the construction site, and Albert upgraded the response to a “rescue alarm.” Additional resources were summoned “to deal with the threat of an unstable building,” he said.

Engine 1, 2, 5, Truck 3, and Medic 21 responded to the scene, along with West Hartford Police and American Medical Response.

When the first unit arrived at 11:20 a.m., they found a construction worker who had fallen through the floor onto which he had been pouring concrete. According to Albert, the worker initially landed on the wet concrete of the floor below, which then partially failed as well.

Firefighters were able to remove the injured party from the unstable building utilizing a “rescue litter” (basket).

“The victim was washed down to remove the wet concrete from him before transferring him to the ambulance,” Albert said in an email.

A West Hartford firefighter/paramedic accompanied the victim to the hospital where he received treatment for what Albert said were non-life threatening injuries. No further details about his condition were available Thursday night.

There were no other injuries reported.

The incident is being investigated by the West Hartford Police Department as well as the Building Department, Albert said.

1031 New Britain Ave., viewed from South Street, is in the process of being transformed into a self storage facility. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Firefighters also extinguished a fire on the roof of a West Hartford home Thursday, Albert said.

Public Safety Dispatch received a report at 2:47 p.m. of a fire on the roof of a home at 104 Vera St., and were advised the blaze involved a solar panel.

According to Albert, the first unit to arrive, at 2:50 p.m., found a small fire that appeared to be coming from under one of the solar panels.

Crews turned off the electrical system to the home and were able to initially extinguish the fire by accessing it from the attic.

Any remaining fire was extinguished from the exterior by the crew from Engine 1 which stretched a hose line to the roof.

The solar panel and roofing material were damaged, Albert said.

There were no injuries and the cause of the fire is being investigated by the West Hartford Fire Marshal’s Office.

In a post on Facebook, the owner of the home stated that it was discovered that squirrels had built a nest between the solar panel and the roof, and that was what caught fire.

The Building Department also responded to the scene and deemed the structure safe for occupancy by its residents, Albert said.

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