2 injured, 1 critically, in New Haven fire

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Two people were taken to the hospital after a large fire broke out in a building on Orange Street in New Haven Friday afternoon.

Fire Chief John Alston says shortly before 2 p.m., firefighters responded to a second alarm fire at the Trinity Bar and Restaurant, at 157 Orange Street, where people were trapped inside. Heavy black smoke could be seen coming from the building.

Officials are trying to figure out if the fire started in the restaurant or in an apartment. They are also trying to determine what caused it.

The heaviest smoke and flames were in the second and third floor apartments. There is heavy water damage inside the building.

Smoke filled the area. Neighbors could see it blocks away.

“I was just going upstairs and I looked out the window and saw all this black smoke,” said Cheryl Szczarba.  “I got my husband and said there’s something going on downtown.”

Alston says one victim escaped from an apartment above the restaurant and ended up on the roof. He was rescued by firefighters and taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital where he is in critical condition at this time.  The victim had woken up and discovered the flames before exiting through a window. He was conscious and alert when taken to the hospital.

“They located the victim and exited the building via the fire escape and was on a one story roof,” Alston said.

Alston said a second victim, who works down the street, was taken to the hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.  He is in stable condition. Alston added that another person was also evaluated, while another victim refused treatment at the scene.

Dozens of firefighters worked to put the fire out, which they did in about 45 minutes. They then checked for hot spots.

Orange Street, part of Chapel Street and Court Street were closed as crews worked to put out the fire.

The blaze displaced the residents of the four apartments in the building, though it did not spread to the adjacent building.

Those who work nearby watched in disbelief.

“The flames were coming out the window,” said Nancy Mann. “The glass was blown across the street, and it was pretty bad.”

The state fire marshal is now investigating. The Red Cross is helping the people who have been displaced.

The owner of Trinity says he will rebuild.

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