Waterbury homes destroyed by fire required demolition

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WATERBURY --  Investigators are still trying to determine what caused a massive fire, on Lounsbury Street Wednesday night that destroyed four homes.

Demolition on three of the four homes began Thursday afternoon. Fire Chief David Martin said the lack of structural integrity of the century old homes made the demolition decision easy.

"It doesn't exist anymore," said Maritza Quinones, as she looked at what used to be where her third floor apartment once was.

The apartment she shares with her husband was on the third floor of a three family home at 60 Lounsbury Street.

Quinones said her "granddaughter started screaming fire because she ran in the kitchen and it was all full of smoke. And all of a sudden there was an explosion and we just got out."

Her daughter's family lived in the 2nd floor apartment

"We were in the kitchen cooking dinner and I said to my husband it smells like burning," said Charitza Santiago, the daughter of Quinones.

Santiago's husband opened the back door.

"We were just seeing black smoke come and said run," said Santiago, who has three children.

The fire had spread very quickly to neighboring homes on both sides.

"The façade of the middle building, the top floor, did come down against the wires into the street," said Martin. "We had a little scare there."

Embers help spread the fire to a home across the street, which will also be demolished.

"I feel thankful that I would be able to even stand here and say that everybody's fine," said Maritza Santiago.

These are century old wood frame homes, with layers of roofing and siding, which provide "very good kindling, unfortunately," the chief said.

"Material things can be replaced. It's just a life can't be replaced," noted Deri Santiago, a son of Maritza Quinones.

Four firefighters sustained minor injuries but they have all been released, according to the chief.