NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A firefighter has died and three others were injured while battling a fire at a home in New Haven, Connecticut.
Crews responded to a two-and-a-half story home on Valley Street around 1 a.m. Wednesday.
One firefighter died from injuries sustained in the fire and another is in critical condition. Two other firefighters were also injured, officials said.
An 84-year-old woman and a man also had to be rescued from the building. Their conditions are unknown at this time.
Jean Pierre Sanchez is a neighbor on the street, and he said he came out to see what was happening when he heard fire trucks at the scene. He said he and other neighbors gathered together, trying to piece together what was happening.
“We saw a woman being taken out of the house from a stretcher,” Sanchez recalled. “I would say an hour after the fire started, we realized that the firefighters were actually putting a lot of effort to break the glasses and spray more water.”
The fire has been put out. While there is no official word on the cause, neighbors said the fire appeared to have started near the top of the home.
New Haven Police and Connecticut State Police are assisting in the investigation.
The New Haven Fire Department is now mourning the loss of one of their own.
“There are no words, there are absolutely no words,” said New Haven Fire Chief John Alston Jr. during a news conference. “You see all of the stages of grief in front of you happening in real-time.”
Chief Alston Jr. said that the fallen firefighter had wanted to be a firefighter since he was a child and that he should be remembered as a hero.
“I interviewed him, and I hired him for this job, and I was so proud of him and continue to be proud of him,” Chief Alston Jr. said.
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker went to the scene and weighed in on the tragedy, saying: “This will be something that impacts us for months and years to come. But, I’m proud to be a part of the city of New Haven and a fire department that has responded with such compassion with the loss of a very important member of our fire department and our community.”
Fire departments across the state are extending words of sympathy for the loss of the New Haven firefighter.
The Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company said, “Our thoughts are with the New Haven Fire Department today. One of their own made the ultimate sacrifice early this morning while battling a structure fire. Several other members are injured as well. Rest In Peace.”
The East Berlin Volunteer Fire Company said, “The East Berlin Fire Company is keeping the City of New Haven Fire Department in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”
The Southington Fire Department also reaching out, saying, “The members of SFD would like to express our thoughts and prayers to the New Haven Fire Department and the family of one of their members who passed away after fighting a house fire last night.”
News 8 has a crew on the scene and will update this story as more information comes in.