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Shelton Fire Engulfs, Collapses Building Injuring 5 and Displacing Dozens

A massive fire in Shelton late Sunday evening destroyed a building and injured five people while leaving 28 others homeless. The Shelton Fire Department was dispatched to battle the flames and rescue residents.

“It was a mass evacuation rescue from the get-go,” said Shelton Fire Department Assistant Chief Nick Verdicchio. The four-story blaze required several crews to extinguish, though approximately 30 minutes into the effort the building collapsed. Crews from Shelton, Ansonia, Derby, Monroe, Milford, Seymour and Stratford worked together throughout the night to dampen the flames. Firefighters were battling two frozen fire hydrants in addition to the blaze, which delayed their efforts considerably. At approximately 5 a.m., fire crews finally extinguished the blaze by shutting off a gas line which had been obscured by the smoke and underneath the rubble caused by the fire.

Five people were transported to local hospitals to treat injuries, though none of them were reported as life-threatening. Another 28 individuals were left homeless after the 125-year-old building was destroyed. The Red Cross is reportedly offering assistance to these people who were left without shelter, clothing and food after the blaze.

“Someone grabbed me and dragged me out to where the back door was,” said third-floor resident John Quick. “Someone held me up and I got in the ambulance.”

The building itself was 125 years old with apartments on the upper stories and businesses on the ground level units. Resident Adam Barbera said of the fire, “You just woke up and there was a cloud of smoke, and within 10 minutes it was just more and more.”

The cause of the fire is yet unknown, though investigators determined that it began in the building’s basement at approximately 11:10 p.m. Sunday night. Monday afternoon, Howe Avenue was closed between Center Street and White Street.