MERIDEN — The house fire which displaced a dozen residents Sunday likely started in the kitchen of one of the Jackson Street apartments, said Fire Chief Ken Morgan.
Meriden fire crews responded to a reported house fire with a possible party trapped around 7:38 p.m. Sunday at 8 Jackson St. One person was rescued from a rear fire escape and no serious injures were reported, according to fire officials. Morgan said the cause of the fire was narrowed down to the kitchen of the rear second floor apartment.
Resident Lianna Abrahante said it was her grandmother who was trapped in her bedroom on the second floor and rescued from a fire escape by firefighters. She was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.
No other injuries were reported, however, three kittens were killed in the blaze, according to Abrahante and Morgan.
Abrahante, who lived in the apartment with her grandmother, was taking her dog out for a walk around the block when she came back and noticed black smoke coming from the building. Running inside, she was able to grab several pets, but the flames kept her separated from her grandmother’s bedroom, where she knew she was sleeping.
“It was a crazy incident, I was trying to get in there and trying to save her myself and it was too much black smoke,” she recalled. “I could not see anything in front of me.”
Abrahante said her grandmother is doing OK physically, but they are both suffering from the emotional trauma of the experience, as well as losing most of their belongings.
“It was just a terrible, terrible experience,” she said.
Abrahante and her grandmother were just two of the dozen of residents who were displaced during the fire. She said the Red Cross provided a small sum of monetary assistance and some of the other tenants are staying in a local hotel.
The residents are accepting donations of clothing and other items, as well as monetary help. A GoFundMe has been set up by Abrahante, with the goal of collecting $5,000. As of Tuesday afternoon it had reached about $800.
Anyone wishing to drop off donations can do so at the front desk of the Four Points by Sheraton, 275 Research Parkway in Meriden. Leave the donations for “the residents affected by the Jackson Street house fire” and they will be evenly distributed to the tenants affected, Abrahante said.
“We are so very thankful and once we get back on our feet we are looking for one heck of a way to give back,” Abrahante said.
The Jackson Street home had been on fire before, in 2015, in the attic. Morgan said the previous fire helped firefighters when responding Sunday since they were familiar with the layout of the house and knew about the large open attic where the fire would likely have spread.