‘I started banging on people’s doors and windows.’ Witnesses describe Bridgeport fire that evacuated 30 people and killed pets

About 30 people in Bridgeport are unable to return home after an apartment building caught fire on Monday night, damaging all 12 apartments. The incident occurred on the 3rd floor of an apartment building, but the cause is under investigation.

At about 9:15 p.m., 911 was called, saying that a brick building on the corner of Fairfield and Howard streets was on fire. Witness Junaro Cruz, who was across the street when he heard the sound of breaking glass, realized why and started screaming to warn people.

“He was shouting my name so loudly that I knew something was wrong,” a neighbor who asked News 12 not to reveal her identity said. When the fire started, he kept saying, “Fire!” When the woman looked up at her apartment, she noticed flames coming from the third floor of her friend’s apartment.

“Me and him[Cruz] Both panicked. I entered through the double doors. He went up through the fire escape,” she told News 12.

“Climb the ladder. I started banging on people’s doors and windows. Everyone on the top floor got off,” Cruz said. “I went and climbed down the ladder into the building and started banging on people’s doors.”

“I was scared, very scared,” added the neighbor.

Everyone was safe, but my pet rabbit died.

Initially, 32 Bridgeport firefighters responded, but 12 more were dispatched to the scene to change crews in the heat.

“With the high humidity and strenuous exercise that accompanies the job of a typical firefighter, it’s a recipe for disaster. We’re doing a really good job with that, calling this particular type of heat,” said Chief Lance Edwards.

Edwards said crew members prevented the fire from spreading beyond adjacent apartments and attics, but all other apartments suffered severe smoke and water damage. On Tuesday morning, the front door to the building was locked, preventing anyone from entering. Electricity and gas were also cut off. The landlord told News 12 that all the apartments were rented at the time of the fire. The Red Cross rushed to the scene and helped people living in temporary housing.

“People’s stuff will be destroyed and people will be homeless,” Cruz said.

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