Meriden fire victim remains critical, city releases 911 calls



MERIDEN — The city on Monday released audio of several 911 calls from residents reporting Saturday’s blaze in a home on Broad Street that injured four firefighters and left a minor victim in critical condition. 

An investigation into the fire continued as of Monday, but the fire marshal said it did not appear suspicious. 

The injured minor remained in “critical but stable condition in a Bronx, New York hospital” according to the city’s strategic communications specialist Tony Terzi. No other information about the victim has been released. 

Terzi said one of the injured firefighters experienced a “cardiac issue,” one suffered smoke inhalation and two suffered burns which were treated at a hospital in Bridgeport.

The two firefighters who sustained burns were released from the hospital but will require further treatment from specialists. The two other firefighters that were transported as a result of smoke inhalation and cardiac exertion were treated, released and cleared to return to work for their next scheduled shift.

At approximately 3:50 p.m. on Saturday, the first of at least four 911 calls was placed, Terzi said. The calls alerted first responders to a grill fire on a side porch of a home at 1060 Broad St. Callers informed firefighters of flames and black smoke engulfing the house, with one individual stating civilians were attempting to break down a door.

“They’re trying to kick down the house door now to see if people are coming out,” the caller said.

Shortly after, the same caller informed dispatchers of “two young kids,” seen fleeing the building.

Although the cause of Saturday’s fire was still undetermined as of Monday, Fire Marshal John Yacovino said officials do not believe the fire was intentionally set.

“At this point, we don’t believe any criminal activity is involved,” Yacovino said

.City Councilor Bob Williams Jr., who sits on the council’s Public Safety Committee, said Monday he had inquired about the injured fire personnel as well as the status of the resident who suffered critical injuries. 

“We need to keep them in our prayers,” Williams said. “Thank God our firefighters are going to be fine. Their heroism is unquestionable. As the deputy chief stated, it’s due to the fact that we have ongoing and exceptional training in the city of Meriden.”

Williams’ remarks were in reference to statements Deputy Fire Chief Ryan Dunn made to news outlets following the fire. 

State Rep. Michael Quinn was among those on scene who witnessed firefighters’ efforts on Saturday to both extinguish the blaze and rescue the resident trapped in the house. 

“I think in this particular instance, with the fire department knowing there was a victim trapped on the third floor, the mindset became what do we have to do to get this person out,” Quinn said, adding that he and other members of the city’s legislative delegation are “always open to hear from our first responders as to what we can do to make their jobs go better.”

The injuries to firefighters come amid ongoing efforts by the city to increase firefighter safety. For example, fire officials implemented a safety training program through which safety training officers are deployed with fire engine crews during the initial response to active calls. 

Separate from those active call responses, safety training officers are also responsible for providing continuous safety training for all fire department personnel and for coordinating the department’s safety awareness-related operations during their assigned shifts. 

bbaker@record-journal.com

mgagne@record-journal.com



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