Connecticut Firefighters Briefly Trapped in Blaze

NORWICH, Conn. --

Fire crews in the Taftville section of Norwich battled an overnight fire Friday morning on Harland Place, which displaced a family, and temporarily trapped a firefighter inside.

The fire was reported just after 4 a.m.

Fire officials said two people were able to get out safely. They were taken to the hospital as a precaution, but officials said they were expected to be OK.

"When I was looking out the window, the whole thing was pink, just the reflection of the flames. That thing was totally covered," said Evelyn Fitzgerald, a neighbor

Three firefighters were briefly trapped after the floor gave way, fire officials said, causing one of the firefighters to fall through up to his knee. The other two then tried to help him, and became tangled up in debris and wires. A rapid intervention team, which is designed to help distressed firefighters, rushed into the home and was able to get them out safely.

"They train constantly for it and they’re there for the firefighters’ safety. They’re the guys you see standing on the front lawn, hope they never have to go to work. Once they find the location, they’re deployed into the building and they’re the ones who aid in the removal of the firefighters,” said Taftville Fire Chief Timothy Jencks.

Highway 169 was between Washington Street and Ox Hill Road while firefighters worked to put out the flames, but was reopened after the blaze was extinguished.

The American Red Cross is helping four people, two adults and two children, affected by the morning fire by providing temporary lodging and financial assistance for emergency clothing and food needs.

"Somebody said they crawled out the window. I hope they crawled out that window, got on the roof of the garage, so they wouldn’t have to jump that far down,” Fitzgerald said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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