By Brett Gillin
Many people lost their homes, but no one lost their lives after an enormous fire destroyed nearly and entire city block. Now, a few days after a four-alarm fire ripped through Shelton Connecticut, the survivors are thanking their lucky stars, along with the firefighting heroes, that no one was killed in the catastrophic event. The four story building housed retail stores on the ground floor, including a florist and a convenience store, while the upper floors all housed apartments, housing 30 people.
The first call came in just before 12:30 a.m. on Monday that a fire was raging out of control. Firefighters were on the scene in minutes. Their first goal: Saving the 30 occupants in the building. Assistant Fire Chief Nick Verdicchio told FOXCT.com “We were rushing in, knocking on doors. Pulling people out… it was quite an extensive rescue operation.” That was an understatement.
The first responders to the scene immediately sent radio dispatches about multiple people who were trapped on the third floor. Then, fire commanders sent out a mass casualty response, putting six hospitals on alert that there may be multiple injuries. Fire crews from more than 5 other neighboring towns and cities were called in to assist in the rescue.
Two tanker trucks, four pumpers, a ladder truck, and a rescue unit were on the scene, along with more than a half-dozen ambulances. A triage was set up behind the building to deal with the people being rescued from the building. While the firefighters were busy rescuing all 30 of the occupants of the building, fire commanders were getting worried about the integrity of the building. At least two separate times, these commanders ordered all firefighters to evacuate the building.
Then, 90 minutes after that first call came into the station, the four story building collapsed. Thankfully, by that point firefighters had rescued every occupant of the building and were clear of the structure. There were no major injuries, although five people were taken to area hospitals for treatment.
30 people lost their homes in the blaze, and 10 veterans were among those who lost everything. The local community, together with the Red Cross have been working diligently working on collecting and dispersing donated clothes and food while getting each of these people into temporary homes while more permanent arrangements can be made. Even those that lost everything know that they owe everything to the heroic first responders who put their lives on the line to ensure everyone made it out alive.