New Britain family recounts devastating fire, working to recover

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NEW BRITAIN – One week after a devastating fire at their New Britain condominium, Zuleyka Mendez is working to put that trauma behind her.

She’s doing so for the sake of her two daughters: 7-year-old Zianny and 5-year-old Savannah.

“They talk about it every single day. They talk about it now. It's like they're scared to sleep on their own in a room by themselves. I got to have them with me because they think it's going happen again,” said Mendez.

She’s also fighting for the sake of her boyfriend, who’s still recovering from serious burns, after saving the family and their dog from the fire.

“If he wouldn’t have saved us, I would have never been here right now, my kids either. My family would have been collecting money to bury us,” she said.

In the early morning of March 17, around 3:30 a.m., flames broke out at their LaSalle Street condo complex. Investigators said it started in their kitchen and spread next door.

They’re still working to determine what caused the fire.

Firefighters had to rescue three people from their neighbor’s condo. All three were hospitalized and Mendez said one of those people still remain in the hospital.

At the time of the fire, Mendez was upstairs sleeping.

“I was so desperately trying to get out from the house. All I hear is my boyfriend telling me, ‘Babe! There's a fire! Babe!’ so I opened the door and I looked down the stairs all I saw is flames,” she explained.

“I grabbed my kids. I covered their faces with pillows and just ran down the stairs.”

They left all of their belongings behind and lost it all.

Mendez has had some help from family and friends, and her family is currently staying at her mother’s house. But she said it’s upsetting to think about everything that burned in the fire.

She said, “You know, I had a lot of money invested in my apartment. I’m not going get none of that stuff back.”

But she said she’s determined to find a new home for her two little girls.

“It’s going be a hard time for me to get over it, but I’m going try my best to try to get over it because I need to move on for my kids,” she said.

A GoFundMe page has been made to help the family recover what they lost.