4 people sent to the hospital following massive fire on West Street in New Britain

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16652674_1080810028709137_982519290_nNEW BRITAIN --  Four people were taken to a local hospital after firefighters responded to a an apartment building fire that had several people trapped and hanging out of windows looking for help.

On Thursday afternoon, New Britain Fire Department responded to a report of a fire at 116 West Street.

Fire crews on scene said fire was under control about 9:20 p.m.

Three of the people injured suffered non-life threatening injuries, according to New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart, one was treated in critical care due to the amount of smoke inhaled. A firefighter was transported for precautionary measures for smoke inhalation.

New Britain Fire Chief Thomas Ronalter said the snow made it difficult to respond faster because some streets were blocked by cars that caused a delay in setting up, he added.

“Some of the roads were plowed but because of the conditions that we had this morning not all the roads were completely plowed and even if they were some cars were stuck which hampered our apparatus from arriving here,” Ronalter said. "Because we had to break the windows out to fight the fire, and now the winds able to get inside the building, that is tampering efforts.”

"It's pretty devastating to see people hanging out the window, all the black smoke coming out of the building, and the first responders having a hard time moving through the snow," witness Derrell Mitchell said.


Fire victim Jane Hughes was trapped in her cousins second floor apartment, she and two of her cousins climbed out on a ladder, the third jumped and injured his ankle. She said they're lucky to be alive.

"Life is so short," Hughes said. "I'm just gonna work through this one day at a time."

Ronalter said at least a dozen have been people misplaced and are being sheltered at the Smalley Academy. The city put up one family in a hotel for the night because they had nowhere to go. The Red Cross will be assisting, Friday.

New Britain Fire Department received mutual aid from both West Hartford and Meriden Fire Department.

The apartment is about 10 blocks away from the CCSU campus and just west of Route 9.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.