Two fires in two days at Branford Manor in Groton
Groton ― Two fires in as many days at Branford Manor have left two families displaced.
On Tuesday, a three-bedroom apartment belonging to a family of four was uninhabitable after a late afternoon fire gutted one bedroom.
Resident Sara Alvarez of 18 Branford Avenue said she went to investigate the source of a burning smell coming from the second floor of her apartment when she found sparks spraying from an electrical outlet onto a nearby bed. Unable to put out the resulting fire with a container of water, she said she escaped with her son.
Groton City Fire Chief Robert Tompkins said calls came in around 5:41 p.m. for the activation of smoke detectors and a possible structure fire. It took about 15 minutes for crews to extinguish the fire, which vented out one of the upper side windows of the corner unit.
Two dogs were rescued from the now-uninhabitable home, he said. There were no injuries.
Alvarez said she and her three children will be staying with family.
Tompkins said a kitchen fire the previous night in another part of the complex left a family of three displaced. He said management is working with that family to find them accommodations elsewhere in the complex.
For Alvarez, it was not the first time she’s had to leave a Branford Manor apartment due to safety concerns. She said she is involved in a lawsuit against the complex’s owner, Related Companies of New York, due to extensive mold issues in a previous apartment.
She moved into her current apartment in May.
Residents have complained about mold and living conditions at the approximately 441-unit federally subsidized housing development. Multiple efforts are underway on the state, federal, and local level to address the issue.
Marcia Alvarez, 19, was wrapped in a blanket with her mother while firefighters and police officers completed their work Tuesday night. The daughter said she felt helpless because she was still at Robert E. Fitch Senior High School when the fire happened.
The distraught daughter said her family already lost some of their possessions due to mold – “and now we lost more because of the fire.”
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