Fire strikes Norwich house, displacing 9

Catherine Way and a friend look over the damage from a late-night fire that badly damaged the five-unit house where she lived Monday, August 20, 2012 in Norwich. Way and eight other residents escaped the multi-family building at 249 Broadway after the 3-alarm blaze was called-in around 11:30 p.m.
Catherine Way and a friend look over the damage from a late-night fire that badly damaged the five-unit house where she lived Monday, August 20, 2012 in Norwich. Way and eight other residents escaped the multi-family building at 249 Broadway after the 3-alarm blaze was called-in around 11:30 p.m. Sean D. Elliot/The Day

Norwich — A three-alarm fire in a multi-family home at 249 Broadway displaced nine people late Sunday night.

Battalion Chief Brad Keltonic said the fire was called in at 11:33 p.m. The home is directly across the street from St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Heavy fire was coming from the rear of the building when fire crews arrived. The occupants, who lived in four apartments, had evacuated.

Initially, firefighters fought the fire from inside the dwelling. Three hand lines were used to fight the fire, but conditions inside the structure became too dangerous and firefighters were pulled out, Keltonic said.

"It was a difficult fire to fight," he said. "There were multiple void spaces, where the fire was hidden. Walls and ceilings had to be pulled just to find the fire."

Keltonic said that during the height of the fire, 45 firefighters were on scene. In addition to city firefighters, Yantic, East Great Plain and Laurel Hill fire departments responded.

Two ladder trucks — one from the city and the other from East Great Plain — were used to fight the fire from the front and the back.

The fire damage was mainly visible from the rear of the home. Stairways leading to the upper floors were charred and windows were shattered.

Keltonic said the roof had collapsed and the third floor sustained significant fire damage. The lower two floors sustained water damage.

The fire was under control by 2:26 a.m. The American Red Cross was at the scene to help the displaced tenants.

Keltonic said the state fire marshal was called in to assist with the investigation, but he said the fire did not appear to be incendiary in nature. The cause remains under investigation.

Keltonic said it was a busy night for fire crews. About a half hour before being called to respond to the Broadway fire, crews had extinguished a kitchen fire at 6 Church St.

He said a woman sustained burns and was taken to the William W. Backus Hospital. Her condition was not known.

Land records show that the Broadway home is owned by Craig Munzer and Patricia Munzer of North Stonington.

i.larraneta@theday.com

Damage from a late-night fire at a five-unit house Monday, August 20, 2012 in Norwich. Nine residents escaped the multi-family building at 249 Broadway after the 3-alarm blaze was called-in around 11:30 p.m.
Damage from a late-night fire at a five-unit house Monday, August 20, 2012 in Norwich. Nine residents escaped the multi-family building at 249 Broadway after the 3-alarm blaze was called-in around 11:30 p.m. Sean D. Elliot/The Day
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