Fire in condemned New London home leaves 1 man dead

The home at 40 Eastern Ave. is seen on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, after a morning fire led to the death of one man. (Lindsay Boyle/The Day)
The home at 40 Eastern Ave. is seen on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, after a morning fire led to the death of one man. (Lindsay Boyle/The Day)

New London — One man died Wednesday morning after a “stubborn” fire broke out in a condemned building on Eastern Avenue, fire Chief Henry Kydd said.

The call for the blaze at 40 Eastern Ave. came in about 6 a.m. On scene, a couple Kydd described as homeless told firefighters they had been staying in a trailer at the rear of the home and that a man was inside the house.

Firefighters forced entry into the boarded-up home and quickly rescued the man inside. Crews transported him to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Kydd did not have the approximate age of the victim, and officials had not yet identified him as of 10:40 p.m.

Kydd called the blaze “stubborn” and said the vacant nature of the home sent firefighters chasing flames throughout the building. Firefighters knocked down the bulk of the blaze within an hour and a half, he said.

Standing in front of the home, a firefighter pointed out that the boarded-up windows likely hindered any chance the man had to escape the fire.

Records show there are four structures on the property at 40-42 Eastern Ave., which Stanley Jacovich purchased in September 2014. Per various orders from the building department, no one is supposed to be living inside any of them.

The property first came to the city’s attention on Nov. 16, 2015, when two tenants asked the building official to inspect the dwelling at 42 Eastern Ave. Two days later, officials condemned the structure because it lacked electrical utilities.

The city had to pay at least $2,850 to relocate the pair and on Dec. 3, 2015, notified Jacovich there would be a lien on his property in that amount.

Then, on Jan. 13, 2016, the building at 40 Eastern Ave. was condemned as unfit for human occupancy due to a lack of heat.

Two months later, records show, the city Building Division condemned the shed and trailer on the property and ordered Jacovich to remove the nonapproved trailer from the premises.

In April this year, the city sent two letters stating Jacovich owed $1,679.22 in tax, interest and lien fees on one piece of his property and $4,395.87 on the other. In the letters, Jacovich was warned the city would sell at public auction all or enough of Jacovich’s property to satisfy the outstanding balances.

It wasn’t immediately clear what came of the auction.

The property sits across from the 31 Eastern Ave. headquarters of F & F Distributors Inc., a beverage wholesaler. Officials said it was a company employee who first reported the blaze.

One city firefighter sustained minor injuries in the blaze. The American Red Cross additionally said it's helping two adults displaced by the fire.

Kydd said it was too early to say whether the fire is being considered suspicious.

State and local fire marshals are investigating. City police also were on scene.

l.boyle@theday.com

The home at 40 Eastern Ave. is seen on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, after a morning fire led to the death of one man. (Lindsay Boyle/The Day)
The home at 40 Eastern Ave. is seen on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, after a morning fire led to the death of one man. (Lindsay Boyle/The Day)

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