21 displaced after New Haven condo fire

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NEW HAVEN -- A plan is being developed for tenants to retrieve their personal possessions after a three-alarm fire broke out in a 120-unit condo complex in New Haven on Monday afternoon.

The fire started inside the roof of the complex, located at 99 Harbor Close, at around 1:30 p.m. and was brought under control at around 6 p.m., though firefighters stayed on scene to put out hot spots for about 12 hours.

The fire was extremely stubborn and took nearly 12 hours to put out, with winds coming off the nearby water adding to the difficulty. There were no sprinklers in the condo buildings, but they weren't required to be installed when they were built.

Another reason the fire took so long to put out is because the water pressure was poor. Rick Fontana, New Haven the emergency services director, said this typically happens when a structure is located  at the end of a street.

Two people were injured -- a firefighter and a resident. The firefighter's injuries were not life-threatening and the resident suffered smoke inhalation.

In all, 13 units were gutted due to smoke damage, leaving 21 people displaced, 20 adults and a child. They are being assisted by the American Red Cross and many of the residents are being housed at the Courtyard by Marriott on Whalley Avenue in New Haven.

Another hot spot flared up Tuesday night, causing some smoke in one part of the building. Crews responded to put that out and make sure the fire was quashed once and for all.

All of the people that were displaced had renters insurance and the owners of the condo units were also insured.

The recovery process actually began during the fire, when crews went in to grab one of the tenant's chemotherapy equipment.

There was no word yet on what caused the fire.

Jim Turcio, a New Haven building official, said the building impacted by the condo fire will be demolished at the end of the week.

mickey-the-catAnd it just so happens that a miracle occurred!

While all human tenants were accounted for on Monday, the man who first called 911 was initially missing his cat. "Mickey" is 5 years old, and his owner, Ray Sirry, spent more than a day looking for him. But somehow, despite the smoke, water and fire, the 18-pound orange cat with white markings was found Tuesday afternoon.

The cat was purring in Sirry's unit when he was found. Imagine that!

During the course of fighting the fire, the West Haven fire department flew a drone over the fire to help the New Haven Fire Department in determining which areas still needed to be attacked.