More than 20 people including nine children were left without a home after an early Wednesday morning fire destroyed their building.
Now, authorities are calling it a suspicious fire.
Firefighters were called to 511 Berkshire Ave. just before 7 a.m.
“All I seen was black smoke in the back of the house,” tenant Anthony Henry said.
As Henry ran over to check on his friends living at the multi-family home, the fire began spreading rapidly.
“I seen it. I looked out the window,” Danny Upchurch, who lived at the building, said. “I saw a ball of fire.”
Four people inside the home at the time of the blaze and were able to escape.
"I wasn't panicked," Upchurch, who knew he had to get out of the building, said. "I was panicked for my kids to get out and get dressed.”
Officials said firefighters went inside to try and attack the fire, but conditions became worse and they had to pull out. They said it took about an hour to douse the flames that ripped through the three-story building.
That’s longer than Bridgeport Deputy Fire Chief Robert Petrucelli said it would normally take to knock a fire like down.
Authorities said the high humidity affected the fight and 33 firefighters that they had to rotate personnel often.
“We encourage everybody to bring plenty of water we bring our own water coolers,” Petrucelli said.
No one was hurt.
The fire burned so hot and so long, the siding on the house next door melted and likely won’t be livable again.
Twelve adults and nine children were displaced by the fire. The American Red Cross was said to be helping them out with a temporary shelter.
The fire appeared to have started in the rear portion of the building, but the exact cause is still being investigated. The city's fire marshal is on the scene.
A portion of Berkshire Avenue was closed until around 9 a.m.
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