June 15, 2024
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By Christian Metzger

A fire broke out in the Terrace Gardens condos, off Route 5, on Wednesday afternoon. The central building of the complex suffered extensive damages.

According to Chief Fire Officer Joseph Czentnar, the two-alarm blaze was first reported at approximately 1:38 pm and began in Unit 29, located on the ground floor of Building 3.

Around 2:20 pm, smoke continued to billow from the upper levels and roof of the central condominiums three-story building as firefighters used ladder trucks to extinguish the fires.

As of 2:30 pm, the fire was still active. The chief said that firefighters were cutting through the roof to stop the fire spreading up the higher floors.

Czentnar reported that the fire had been contained by 2:50 pm.

Czentnar, who was on the scene, said that no residents had been injured. However, a firefighter received a laceration and was taken to hospital. According to reports on broadcast, two firefighters sustained injuries in total. As of the time of publication, no further information was available.

Fire marshals will investigate the cause. The building’s utilities were shut off while firefighters investigated.

The central part of the structure was severely damaged by the fire, and the roof collapsed in parts.

Red Cross personnel and the town’s building department responded to the incident. The number of residents who would have been displaced was not known, but Czentnar stated that due to the extensive damage caused by smoke and fire in other areas of the building as well as the water damage they “won’t be going home any time soon.”

Those who were present at the scene said that for the near future, displaced residents will be housed in the fire station on Hope Hill Road opposite Mark T. Sheehan high school.

Meriden firefighters responded to the incident and assisted Wallingford Fire Department.

Near the intersection of Route 5 South Elm Street and this complex.

Residents who witnessed the incident said that the fire was a total surprise, and they had to evacuate quickly.

Maddalena Lamura, a 79 year old woman who lives a few units away from the complex, said, “We were having cookies and coffee inside when this man knocked at the door, saying ‘you better get out, the building’s on fire’.” Lamura, who has lived at the complex for more than 63 years, said that nothing similar has ever happened.

She said that her husband Joe Lamura, who has Parkinson’s Disease is barely able to move. However, he was first to leave the apartment when it caught fire.

Paulina and her husband lived at home with them at that time. Treistman had a call going on while her husband read in another room. They grabbed the dog and any documents that they could find before fleeing.

He had also heard something outside and smelled smoke. “He came down and asked me if I could smell smoke. When I replied no, he went outside and saw the flames,” said the woman.

Treistman admitted that this was not a pleasant experience, particularly so near the holiday season, but she added that in the end it’s just stuff that can be replaced. The important thing is to ensure that everyone remains safe.

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