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Norwich apartments damaged in fire

By Izaskun E. Larrañeta and Claire Bessette

Publication: theday.com

Published 03/15/2013 12:00 AM
Updated 03/16/2013 12:11 AM
Early morning blaze at Norwich’s Cedar Glen complex forces residents into the cold

Norwich — Three apartments in the Cedar Glen complex at 99 Cedar St. were damaged in an early morning fire Friday.

Norwich Fire Chief Ken Scandariato said the fire was reported at 5:28 a.m. in Building C, which houses more than a dozen apartments. Upon arrival, he said, fire was visible on two floors, with flames shooting out of the windows.

Scandariato said he called in a second-alarm, which summons all the city's volunteer fire departments, as a precaution because the fire easily could have spread throughout the building. The Mohegan Tribal Fire Department assisted in fighting the blaze.

The building was evacuated with the assistance of local police. No injuries were reported.

Tenants of the complex stood outside shivering in the cold, some huddling in a stairwell in the adjacent Building D.

Janet Janssen said she lives on the third floor in apartment 47, next door to where the fire apparently started, in apartment 48.

"A cop and a fireman banged on my door and told me to get out of the house now," Janssen said. "I thought to myself, here we go again."

Janssen was referring to a Jan. 7 incident, when she and her neighbors were forced to evacuate their apartments because Jason Razzino, who lived in Building D, shot a police officer then killed himself during a standoff with police.

Janssen was wearing only pants, a shirt and socks; she hadn't had time to put on her shoes.

"I don't know if my apartment got damaged," she said.

Eventually, Janssen, along with a young couple with an infant, were allowed to sit in the back of a police cruiser to stay warm.

Dixie Blyden, who lives on the second floor in apartment 39, said an emergency official knocked on her door.

"I grabbed all of my medications and got out of there," Blyden said. "I could see the flames. They were so high."

Evelyn Sanchez said she lives in the apartment where the fire started. She thought that a lit candle may have started the blaze. She said she was at her neighbor's apartment when the fire started. She declined further comment.

Scandariato confirmed that the fire started on the third floor and burned its way down to the second. Firefighters conducted a fast and aggressive interior attack, he said, which kept the fire in check.

A ladder truck was used for access to ventilate the roof and to check for hot spots.

The fire was under control shortly before 6:30 a.m.

Norwich Director of Inspections James Troeger said residents of about a dozen apartments surrounding the three damaged units were allowed to return to their homes Friday afternoon.

The three damaged apartments will be closed for much longer, Troeger said. The third-floor unit where the fire started suffered extensive damage. The fire burned through the floor to a second-floor unit, and a first-floor unit was damaged extensively by water.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Day staff writer Claire Bessette contributed to this report.

i.larraneta@theday.com

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