A fatal fire early Tuesday morning, on Hartford’s Bedford Street, has now claimed a second victim. Susan Therrien, 43, whose four-year old daughter, Shantay Drake, died in the blaze, passed away late Wednesday night in Bridgeport Hospital’s burn unit.
Six-year old Kayla Drake, who was uninjured in the fire, is now left without her younger sister and their mother. It’s a big burden for such small shoulders to bear, but family says she has a great support system in place.
“I don’t know what to expect, you know, when she finds out (about the deaths). But, the good thing is that she’s around people that love her,” said Richard Drake, an uncle to the inseparable sisters.
Some Bedford Street neighbors the Hartford Police Department is to be commended to its response and heroism displayed by officers. And, while they claim the Hartford Fire Department arrived quickly, they feel firefighters did not get inside the apartment building quick enough.
“We’re screaming to them that there are children in that house. And, the first fireman came out and just waves us off as they were still putting on their jackets and were gearing up. They weren’t even trying to get in there,” said Maureen Falcon, who lives across the street from where the fire broke out.
Falcon was so upset that she and her husband, Angel, videotaped the fire department’s response to the fire. They emailed the video to Hartford Fire Prevention Chief Roger Martin, with whom they also lodged a formal complaint.
“I forwarded this to the Command Staff and they are viewing it,” responded Martin to the couple’s video. He asked them for “everything and anything else you have.”
A neighbor, who lives two buildings south of the fatal fire, concurred with the Falcon’s perception that they firefighters acted with very little urgency.
“I feel like they didn’t do their job right. I feel like they had ample time to get this little girl out,” said Tameka Adams, whose 11 and 15 year old sons have had a very difficult time coping.
The Hartford Fire Department declined comment on the video. They say they will address family of the victims, neighbors and residents at a community meeting with department representatives as well as health and human services.