One person was rescued after a minivan plunged into a body of water in Hamden on Thursday morning. A short time later, firefighters were called to a house fire, just a block away. Sources told Eyewitness News the two incidents may be connected.
The vehicle ended up in Lake Whitney off Waite Street around 11 a.m.
"We pulled up we saw a minivan 3/4 submerged in the water, one patient on the driver side, she was completely underwater upon arrival," Hamden firefighter Zachary Criscuolo said.
There's no word on what caused the van to veer into the lake.
"While I was suiting up, I observed Zack going on the passenger side, taking out the window [on] her side," Hamden firefighter Will Heiney said. "The driver's side was already well underwater."
Heiney and Criscuolo were the first two in the water.
"Having that suit on right away, getting into the water as quickly as possible was the key there," Criscuolo said. "Only had a few moments to get her out before it's too late."
With a window down and water filling the van, the firefighters, along with a police officer, struggled to free the driver.
"It always is. You can imagine the constraints you have, cutting seat belts, removing someone in the water," Hamden Fire Chief David Berardesca said. "Plus the person that's in the water is disoriented. [It's] got to be a terrible situation."
After being pulled from the minivan, the unidentified woman was transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital. There was no word on her injuries.
In the firefighters called the rescue a "success."
Firefighters were alerted to smoke pouring out of a multiple-family home on Russell Street.
"Just fire trucks, I didn't see any smoke at first," Eugenia Vassiliev, of Hamden, said. "And then, it looked like smoke was coming out of the second floor."
Sources told Eyewitness News the two scenes were connected and that Hamden’s fire marshal and the police are investigating both incidents.
Firefighters were seen on the second floor while outside on the front lawn, there were a number of burned items including a dresser, and bags and boxes of household items.
The fire chief told Eyewitness News no one was injured and no one was home at the time of the fire.
"There's got to be some kind of story there," Vassiliev said. "I don't know why people do the things they do."
Both the fire and the crash remain under investigation.
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