MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Four firefighters and one home occupant were injured in a three-alarm house fire Saturday evening on the corner of Broad Street and Bunker Avenue in Meriden.
The victim was found unconscious on the third floor of the three-story home and is now in critical, but stable condition at the Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx. The victim is receiving hyperbaric treatment.
In addition, three Meriden firefighters and one Bridgeport firefighter were brought to local hospitals to be treated for various injuries including burns, cardiac issues, and smoke inhalation.
The two firefighters who suffered from burns, including the Bridgeport firefighter, have been released. However, they will need more treatment at home.
The two other firefighters who suffered from cardiac exertion and smoke inhalation were also released and cleared to return to work.
Meriden Deputy Chief Ryan Dunn said that before firefighters arrived, a group of locals broke down a rear door to save some people from the fire. These locals also told firefighters that someone was still stuck on the third floor when they arrived.
“They did that without the protection of firefighting gear, and they certainly didn’t have to act, and they did,” said Deputy Fire Chief Ryan Dunn.
When the fire started, Zofia Walls was working next door at Ted’s restaurant. She says the flames were big and you could see smoke coming off the roof.
Firefighters attempted to reach the third floor using the stairs, but they were pushed back by heavy fire conditions, causing two firefighters to get burned. Then, two other firefighters successfully saved the unconscious male by using a 35-foot ladder through the third-floor window.
“The level of training in the level of commitment by the members of the Meriden fire department, it’s second to none,” said Dunn. “You always rise to the level of your training, so the firefighters that were there yesterday were well trained, very motivated… they did some really great work.”
Dunn said that a propane tank on the back porch exploded.
“Any time that you have a fire in a building and it grows exponentially by every minute, minutes and seconds count,” Dunn said. “And having a fire company literally 500 feet away certainly made a difference in this. The level of training and the level of commitment by the members of the Meriden Fire Department, it’s second to none. They did unbelievable work yesterday, as they always do.”
The cause of the fire still remains under investigation.