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Connecticut Crews Battle Fire at Wood-Framed Apartment Complex

October 21, 2019

Three residents and one firefighter injured in 2-alarm blaze that caused extensive damage

Silver Spring, MD – On Thursday afternoon, fire crews were called to the scene of a fire at a three-story, wood-framed apartment complex in Middletown, Connecticut, resulting in the hospitalization of three residents and one firefighter, who was injured when part of the building collapsed. Additionally, ten pets were rescued, and unfortunately, one dog perished in the fire.

Seventy-five firefighters from all three of Middletown's fire districts responded to the incident, and were forced to deal with freezing and icy conditions. According to The Hartford Courant, “a third-floor unit was a complete loss, and smoke and water caused extensive damage throughout the 24-unit building.”

The blaze comes at a time of a number of spectacular fires in wood-frame, multi-family residential structures – most notably in Princeton, NJ; East Boston, MA; Lakewood, NJ; Weymouth, MA; Haverhill, MA; Waltham, MA; Charlotte, NC; Warner Robins, GA; Midvale, UT; Oakland, CA; Dorchester, MA; Lawrence, MA; East Hollywood, CA; Lowell, MA; Waterbury, CT, Emeryville, CA; St. Petersburg, FL; Arlington, VA; College Park, MD; Overland Park, KS; Raleigh, NC; and Maplewood, NJ. There have been dozens over the last few years.

“Sadly, incidents of this sort will continue to occur as long as builders and developers prioritize building cheaply with combustible materials over resilient products like concrete and steel,” said Kevin Lawlor, spokesperson for Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association comprised of community organizations, fire professionals, engineers, architects and industry experts. “No family should be forced to experience the loss of a loved one – even a pet – or their home and possessions over what amounts to a misguided economic decision.”

A number of cities and small towns have already taken proactive steps to protect themselves from preventative fires in construction of this type, including Chicago, IL; New York, NY; Sandy Springs and Tucker, GA. Last year, the Waltham City Council in Massachusetts voted unanimously to ask the state to update their building codes to prevent this sort of construction, as well, after a string of fires devastated the region.

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