Lit cigarette may have sparked deadly New Britain apartment complex fire


NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) — One man is dead following a 3-alarm fire in New Britain early Tuesday morning.

The fire broke out at an apartment complex – which houses those 55 and older – on 85 Spring St.

Officials said one man died and several others were injured; their conditions are unknown. Deputy Chief Paul Walsh said a firefighter fell during efforts to try and save and resuscitate the deceased victim. He said the crew member is recovering.

Walsh also told News 8 that 82 people were inside of the building at the time. Twenty-five were on the top floor, which caught fire.

Six people were rescued or assisted out of the building. Walsh said to escape the smoke, some residents were using windows on the back of the building to try and get out.

He said things could have been much worse if they didn’t get help from surrounding communities like Hartford, West Hartford, Bristol and UConn.

“I am devastated by the news that we lost one of our own residents in this fire,” said Mayor Erin Stewart. “We send our heartfelt condolences to their friends and family. We are grateful for the quick work of the responding New Britain Fire Department companies for getting the fire under control quickly and preventing its spread to the remaining floors of the apartment complex.”

She told News 8 she is also proud of the landlord, who is working to relocate more than 20 residents into other available units.

Stewart told News 8 that a lit cigarette may have started the fire. However, that information if coming out during a preliminary investigation. The State Fire Marshall will have an official cause once the investigation is complete.

Stewart said this is a good but unfortunate time to remind residents to be extra cautious.

“If we’re all thinking about what we can do today, check your smoke detectors and make sure they’re functioning. If you don’t have renter’s insurance, you seriously should consider getting it.”

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