Multiple residents have been displaced following a kitchen fire at a large apartment building in West Hartford Thursday afternoon. [Updated]
By Ronni Newton
A two-alarm fire at a three-story West Hartford apartment building at 105 South Main St. was quickly extinguished Thursday afternoon, and while all occupants were able to evacuate without injury, officials estimate that occupants of as many as 10 units will be displaced at least overnight.
Two police officers were transported to a local hospital for evaluation, Fire Chief Greg Priest said.
According to Priest, the blaze at the Southwick apartment building was reported as a kitchen fire by the occupant of a third-floor unit at 4:25 p.m.
Multiple 911 calls were also made, reporting visible flames from a window, and callers reported that people were evacuating. Callers also told dispatches that some occupants may still be inside the apartment building.
Frank Morgan, a resident of another third-floor unit, said the alarms in the building sounded in response to the fire. He told We-Ha.com that as he evacuated, members of the fire and police departments were banging on doors to ensure that everyone was out of the building.
Priest said the first units arrived within four minutes, and noted visible smoke and heavy fire from a third-floor apartment.
“Due to the amount of fire visible, the fire being on the third floor, and that occupants were still evacuating, a second alarm was called by Battalion Chief Keith Albert,” Priest said. “First-arriving West Hartford fire crews immediately initiated a fire attack while other crews assisted with evacuating occupants, verifying that everyone was out and establishing a water supply to support the firefighting operations.”
The fire was brought under control by 4:36 p.m., Priest said.
Priest said the West Hartford Building Department will determine how many of the units will be temporarily uninhabitable due to damage from fire, smoke and water. He estimated that occupants of 10 units will require relocation at least for Thursday night, and West Hartford Social Services and the American Red Cross will be providing assistance to those individuals.
An American Red Cross spokesperson said the organization is assisting seven families – seven adults as well as one child – who were impacted by the fire.
“The Red Cross is also providing comfort kits containing personal care items such as toothbrushes, deodorant, shaving supplies and other items a resident might need when suddenly displaced from their home by a fire,” spokesperson Jonathan Sandstrom said in an email. “In addition, a recovery envelope containing information helpful to families recovering from a fire, including tips on cleanup; notification of important contacts; dealing with damaged items and more was provided.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation by the West Hartford Fire Marshal’s Office.
All West Hartford Fire Department units responded to the blaze, along with the police department and American Medical Response. The Hartford Department also sent an engine and ladder to assist. Crews from Connecticut Natural Gas, Eversource, and the Metropolitan District Commission also responded to the sense to assist with any utility-related issues.
New Britain, Newington, and the UConn Fire Department provided coverage for the town while West Hartford units were engaged at the scene.
Priest expressed appreciation for the assistance of other departments with this incident.
South Main Street was closed between Sedgwick/Park roads and Boulevard while responders were on the scene.
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