NAUGATUCK -- Firefighters are trying to determine the cause of a blaze that displaced the occupants of at least four units in building 8 of the Southwood Apartment complex at 933 Rubber Ave. Friday afternoon.
Firefigthers received a 911 call at 3:36 p.m. from a Southwood apartment owner who said she had seen smoke and fire coming out of the building next to her and was on her way toward the house to get people out, Second Assistant Fire Chief Paul Russell said. The caller and others knocked on doors and police officers soon joined them to get everybody out of their homes before firefighters started pouring water on the flames, which were coming out of two apartments, Russell said.
"They did a real nice job of getting everyone out," Russell said, adding that nobody was injured during the fire.
Close to 30 firefighters from Naugatuck, Waterbury and Oxford worked to put out the flames, which was in the eves between two roofs of two apartments when firefighters arrived. All told, Russell said, it took them about 25 minutes to knock down the fire. Firefighters tapped into a hydrant on scene for a water supply.
Dozens of people stood outside of the apartment complex as drizzle came down past 5 p.m. Many of them held umbrellas and consoled each other as they watched firefighters put out the remainder of the hot spots. Furniture from several apartments was outside the front of the units as firefighters walked around it to get toward the hot spots.
Ana Medina, a middle-aged woman who lives in building 8, said she heard neighbors banging on her door and yelling frantically Friday afternoon. So she grabbed the two young children who were in the home with her and ran outside. They went to a neighbor's house for shelter and clothes.
Medina said at least six children were believed to be in the home at the time of the incident. All got out OK.
"I'm thankful for my neighbors," she said in Spanish - her adult son translated. "All the clothes I have on my back are from them."
Russell said it is too early to tell what caused the fire or exactly how many people will be displaced.
"We know those living in at least the four units on the first floor will not be able to go back in," he said. "But we're not sure yet about the others. We will make that determination soon."
The fire marshal is on scene investigating.
Russell said the American Red Cross has been called in to provide care and shelter for those in need.