Man suffers burns on half his body during Putnam fire - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Man suffers burns on half his body during Putnam fire

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(iWitness photo) (iWitness photo)
(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)

A man is fighting for his life after suffering burns to half of his body in an early morning house fire.

Firefighters said it broke out at an apartment home on Park Street in Putnam just after 1:45 a.m.

By the time they arrived, it was fully engulfed. Eyewitness News obtained exclusive video of the flames.

The street remained closed.

The fire chief, Bob Campbell, told Eyewitness News that the fire possibly originated on the mattress of a man who was living there. It was located in the rear left side of the building on the first floor.

Campbell said they are looking into the possibility that smoking may have been the cause.

"The problem is the roof caved in so as of now we got to get a machine in there to open it up to get to the hot spots," he said.

The victim had to be transported to a hospital with a burn unit in Rhode Island. Fire officials said he suffered burns to 50 percent of his body from the waist up.

The fire marshal credited a neighbor with helping to save the man's life.

Several other families were inside at the time but made it out safely, according to officials.

 "Two of  the four families were in our house for a while," said Brad Herlihy, a resident.

Eversource said it cut power to 67 homes to make sure first responders stayed safe. A ladder truck had to go over a primary line.

"With a 3-year-old it's pretty tough," Herlihy said.

Herlihy said that with temperatures in the single digits and no power, he, his wife and his toddler had to wrap themselves in blankets to keep warm.

Power was eventually restored around 8 a.m. It was out for about five hours.

"It's heartbreaking because now they don't have a home," Herlihy said. "They lost pictures , they lost furniture.”

A sand spreader had to be bring it to deal with ice left behind by the water.

Friends of the people in the home said the escapees are staying elsewhere for the time being.

Investigators are still looking for an exact cause.

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