Officials said a couple and their grown daughter were killed in an early morning fire Tuesday at a West Haven condominium complex.
Officials said the fire was called in at 89 Coleman St., which is the Mallard Brook Crossing Condos, around 4 a.m. They said the call was made by a neighbor.
The unit number was 214.
"It still hasn't kicked in yet, but I know I'm going to miss them," said Kimberly Mathis, a neighbor.
One female was pronounced dead at the scene after being found near a door. Two others were found after a search of the residence and rushed to Yale-New Haven Hospital where they died, officials said.
Mathis said they were like family to her and that the father even called her "daughter."
"They were just good neighbors," she said. "My mail would come to their house, they'd come and eat at our house, we would eat at their house. They'd make me pasta fagioli. They were wonderful people, just wonderful."
Firefighters said when they first arrived they found lots of smoke pouring out of the building and several residents still inside. They had to force their way into the building to help people out.
"I don't recall us having a triple fatal fire, this many at one time," said Chief James O'Brien of the West Haven Police Department. "It's emotional for the family, for the residents here and certainly for our firefighters."
One neighbor said the couple was older and one of them used a walker and the other a cane. But that doesn't appear to be the reason why they did not get out.
"I don't see any indication that they wouldn't be able to get out. I don't know that for sure but there doesn't appear to be the case," O'Brien said.
O'Brien said investigators will focus on the front room as they search for the cause. He said that was where the bulk of the damage was.
"The investigation is just starting," O'Brien explained. "We're putting the pieces together, interviewing and we should have something later today as an indication. But right now we don't have any ironclad cause of this fire."
The State Fire Marshal's Office was called in to assist with the investigation and crews spent all day gathering evidence. Fire investigators said they believe the fire started accidentally, but don't have enough to say what started it.
Fire officials said they were able to determine that there were working smoke detectors, but it is unclear if those detectors went off during the fire.
They said the names of the victims were not yet being released.
"Just good people, wonderful people and now they're all gone," Mathis said.
Fire crews were able to save all of the other units, so no one was displaced after the fire.
The victims were renting the condo from the condo owner who was at the scene on Tuesday, however the owner did not want to talk to Eyewitness News.
Copyright 2014 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Sunday, August 31 2014 3:28 PM EDT2014-08-31 19:28:29 GMT
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