Shelton fire: Ladders used to rescue residents from third-floor apartments

Firefighters had to use ladders to rescue people from some upper floor apartments during this morning’s fire that has destroyed a block of structures in downtown Shelton.

“People were trapped on the third floor,” said Shelton Fire Department spokesman Nick Verdicchio. “All this was happening while flames engulfed the scene.”

Verdicchio said the first firefighters on the scene immediately began to evacuate residents from apartments, knocking on doors to wake people up. One of the buildings is four stories in height.

The initial call for help came slightly after midnight, officials said.

‘An amazing effort’

“The first guys on the scene made an amazing effort to get people out,” Verdicchio said.

Their efforts appear to have paid off, with no fatalities or serious injuries reported despite the massive size of the fire.

The fire occurred on Howe Avenue between Center Street and Bridge Street/Viaduct Square, on the Coram Avenue side. The block includes such businesses as Liquid Lunch and Howe Convenient on the first floor as well as offices and residences on upper floors.

Five people treated for injuries

Verdicchio said five apartment residents were taken to area hospitals for medical attention, but none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening or very serious. “It most likely was smoke inhalation,” he said.

“It would be great news if these numbers hold up,” Verdicchio said.

He said initial indications are that 28 people lived inside the structure’s 24 apartments, although those numbers are not confirmed.

No firefighters were injured during their efforts, said Verdicchio, who is an assistant fire chief of the Pine Rock Park Fire Company in Shelton.