New Haven, Conn. (WTNH) - Police are asking for help in finding a dark colored mini-van seen leaving the area where a fire killed three people and sent several others to the hospital.
The fire has been classified a homicide. Crime scene tape surrounds the multi-story building.
Wednesday's fire on the corner of Poplar and Wolcott Streets killed Wanda Roberson, 42, her 8-year-old son Quayshawn and her 21-year-old niece Jaquita Roberson.
The fire appears to have started in a stairwell of the multi-family home. An accelerant sniffing dog 'hit' on spots, and a burn pattern indicating some kind of flammable liquid was found.
Survivors of the fire tell News 8 the flames spread quickly.
"Everything happened so fast that it was crazy," said Terri Payne, a cousin of the victims. "They didn't know which way to go, when they touched a door knob it was hot, they just didn't know where to go. So, I mean, it's bad and it's sad and it's a terrible loss for our family and our friends."
As the fire was raging, some children were dropped from a second floor balcony to people waiting on the ground.
The fire department said crews were on the scene four minutes after the 9-1-1 call came in.
New Haven and State police, as well as the arson investigation teams have been at the scene non-stop since the flames were put out early Wednesday morning. They are still looking for leads.
Lorretta Parker is the aunt and great aunt of the victims. She spoke with News 8 about the tragedy.
She said one of the hardest things to hear from family members who escaped the fire, is that there were at least two people in a dark colored mini van outside the house, who simply watched it burn and ignored the screams for help before driving away.
"My little nephew was born on my birthday. I love him and I'm not going to be able to see these people anymore, that's all I got to say," says Parker.
Across the street from the home on the corner of Wolcott and Poplar, a small memorial to the victims is growing.
Parker says the best way to honor the three who died, is to live life as fully as they did, and appreciate each moment.
She tells News 8 they are a large family in New Haven, pulling together in the wake of this tragedy, just trying to get through.
More than anything right now, they want justice.
A fundraiser will be held for the victims on Friday, Mar.11, from 8:30a.m through 2p.m at the old church at 342 Ellsworth Avenue in New Haven.
A second fund-raisr will be held on Saturday at the same location from 9a.m. through 12p.m.
People are encouraged to drop off food, clothes or anything else that may help the victims and families of the fire. Those with questions regarding the fund-raiser are asked to call 203-675-7754.
Police are asking anyone who may have been in the area and saw a dark mini-van to call the New Haven Police Department's Detective Hotline at 203-946-6304.
The Connecticut Appellate Court has set aside the corruption convictions of Hartford's former mayor.
Town leaders in Newtown are pleading with the nation's news media to 'please leave us alone' as the one year anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook approaches.
One person was killed after a two-vehicle crash involving a school bus, that happened in Stonington this morning.
Freezing drizzle and below freezing temperatures made for a slow and dangerous Monday morning commute for many around the state.
A youngster critically wounded in a shooting, volunteer advocates and elected officials are kicking off an "acts of kindness" week in Connecticut to honor the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
A silver alert has been issued for an endangered runaway from Farmington.
Relatives say three women shot to death in Connecticut in a suspected murder-suicide were a 28-year-old mother of a toddler and her two cousins.
A Bristol man was arrested after allegedly shooting another man in the face in New Britain last Wednesday.
A school and the town of Pomfret are helping congregants of a church heavily damaged by fire.
A former colleague of a Yale University professor who died in police custody is organizing a protest, calling it a "political death."