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Watch: Neighbors help victims escape massive fire in New Britain

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NEW BRITAIN --  An incredible video caught by an eyewitness and shared with FOX 61 shows a neighbor helping people escape a massive fire in New Britain on Thursday. The video also shows people helping one another escape through windows by using ladders.

The man on the ladder in the video, Juan Busanet said he was walking in the street near the fire after he and his friend got in a car accident, when he came across the fire.

"I told my best friend, that’s fire!," he said. "We started running, we get there we see  the smoke coming out of the first floor, and I called 911."

Busanet tried to get into the building but it was filled with smoke, then a neighbor brought over a ladder and he climbed up it to help the fire victims get out.

"People were puking out of the windows like coughing and saying like ‘help us, please help us,'" Busanet said. "Being a father of kids, I just imagined my kids being trapped in a fire, I was like no no I gotta do something."

He said he helped at least three kids get out of the burning building, as well as two adults.

He credits the other passerbys and New Britain Fire for the group effort in getting everyone out alive.

"Theres still good people out there," he said. "A lot of people came together."

On Friday, the fire marshal was back on the scene of at the apartment building at 116 West Street.

Fire crews on scene at the time of the fire said the fire was under control at about 9:20 p.m. but he fire department held a crew overnight to keep an eye on the stubborn fire.

The chief said they couldn't investigate last night due to hotspots, the cold and darkness. There is no word yet on how the fire started.

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.

Six people were injured in the fire.

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. Two firefighters were also treated and released for exhaustion.

"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 cousin's second floor apartment. She and two of her cousins climbed out on a ladder, while 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 people were displaced and were being sheltered at the Smalley Academy. The city put up one family in a hotel for the night because they had nowhere to go and the Red Cross was assisting them.

Now, the city is collecting donations for the victims.

"If anyone is interested in making a donation of clothing, or monetary donations they can be dropped off this weekend at Fire Department Headquarters on Beaver Street then starting on Tuesday at 8:30am in City Hall at our Community Services office on the 3rd Floor. Our staff will make sure the items are donated to the families. (I know Tuesday seems far away but we are closed in city hall on Monday here) thank you all again for your willingness to help and support those in need!!!" Mayor Erin Stewart wrote on Facebook.

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

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