Connecticut Apartment Building Demolished After Fire Leaves 38 Homeless

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Crews demolished a four-story brick apartment building Sunday after city officials declared it a hazard following a fire that left 38 people homeless.

The building was razed despite the objection of its owner, Paul DiLoreto of Wethersfield, who tried to delay the demolition until an independent structural engineer could be hired to assess the damage.

``The building could still be saved. The structure is sound,'' DiLoreto said.

The building, which housed several apartments, a grocery store and a barber shop at the corner of Park and Wadsworth streets, was not insured, DiLoreto said.

The families left homeless by Saturday's fire were staying at a nearby shelter set up by the city and the American Red Cross.

No one was seriously injured. Firefighters rescued three people, including a man who appeared to be ready to jump from a fourth-floor window.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation Sunday. Fire officials, who believe it started in the basement, did not rule out arson.

DiLoreto said he planned to file a complaint with the city. He tried to stop the demolition Sunday morning, but Mayor Eddie Perez ordered the building demolished for safety reasons, according to broadcast reports.

The demolition left a 20-foot-high pile of debris. Crews were expected to clear the site Monday.