State and local fire investigators are looking for the cause of an early morning fire in Willimantic that sent nine people to a local hospital, including six firefighters.
The three-alarm fire broke out shortly after 12:30 a.m. at a home on South Street.
When fire crews arrived at the home, they said there was heavy fire coming from the upper floors of the multi-family home.
Rescue crews said a man had jumped from a third-floor window to escape the smoke and flames, and when the reached him, they said he told them his wife was trapped inside, unable to escape the inferno.
"He directed us," said Capt. Ron Palmer, of the Willimantic Fire Department. "He knew exactly where she was, where he last saw her in the bedroom on the third floor. Myself and another firefighter forced entry and did a primary search using thermal imaging cameras. Upon entering the room where we were directed to go, we actually located the victim outside of the room in the hallway and successfully removed her from the building."
When Palmer and the other firefighter reached the woman, they said she was in full cardiac arrest and wasn't breathing.
They rushed the woman outside and immediately began CPR in an attempt to save her.
Charles Quick's grandfather lives on the first floor of the home and rushed to the scene as soon as he heard about the fire.
"They were giving the lady on the third floor CPR because she wasn't breathing," he said. "Save, the guy upstairs, he jumped from the third floor and broke his arm. He's at Windham Hospital."
The woman began to breathe again and was sent to a Rhode Island hospital via a LIFE STAR medical helicopter.
Her husband was brought to Windham Hospital to be treated for injuries he sustained from the jump, as well as smoke inhalation.
Witnesses said the couple worked at the University of Connecticut.
They said she is a lab technician and her husband is a post-doctoral researcher.
On top of the couple's injuries, Quick's grandfather was brought to a local hospital for observation, and six firefighters were also treated and released for various minor injuries.
Investigators spent the morning sifting through the ash of what's left on the second floor, which is where they believe the fire started.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Copyright 2012 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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