4 firefighters, 1 minor injured in three alarm fire in Meriden

A fire on the corner of Bunker Ave. and Broad St. in Meriden left multiple people injured.
Published: Jan. 21, 2023 at 4:38 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 25, 2023 at 7:26 PM EST
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MERIDEN, Conn. (WFSB) - A fire on the corner of Bunker Ave. and Broad St. in Meriden left multiple people injured. But before the fire department arrived, three men, bystanders, saw the flames and knew something needed to be done

“I was at the car wash and I just happened to look over and I saw the flames,” said Bill Lombardi of Meriden.

Just before 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon, 12 calls came in about a fire on Bunker Ave. and Broad Street.

The fire started on the first floor but travelled up fast.

“Prior to our arrival, bystanders had pulled members of the family outside the building. They did a great job. A lot of credit to them for that,” said Ryan Dunn, Deputy Fire Chief, City of Meriden Fire Department.

Dylan Saradet, James Sadlowski and Bill Lombardi are the three eyewitnesses who saw the fire and did what they could to get everyone out of the house.

“We opened the gate, I was ringing the door bell trying to bang on the door,” said Bill.

James got his wrench, broke the glass and was able to open the door.

A woman and two children came out but there was one more person inside on the third floor.

“As soon as the family came out I was relieved. They’re safe, they’re out but the little girl said, ‘my uncles upstairs,’” Bill said.

Dylan went in to try saving him.

“At that point, your instincts just kick in and take over and run. At that point, I knew a kid was upstairs and I tried my best to help the situation and try to get him out,” said Dylan.

Dylan was not able to make it to the third floor where the man was. He says the living room was fully engulfed in flames and it was not safe for him to be in there anymore.

Thankfully, firefighters arrived and were able to pull the unconscious minor victim out of the building.

Meriden officials identified the minor as 17-year-old Mekhi McLean. Fire officials say McLean was treated at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx where he received hyperbaric treatment.

According to his family, McLean is expected to make a full recovery.

Mekhi McLean
Mekhi McLean(Shan Brown)

Several firefighters are injured as well. Three Meriden firefighters were transported to local hospitals for injuries such as burns, cardiac issues, and smoke inhalation. Later a fourth firefighter was transported to Bridgeport Hospital for treatment for burns to his head and ears.

The two firefighters who sustained burns have been released from the hospital but will require future treatment from specialists. The other two firefighters who were transported for smoke inhalation and cardiac exertion were treated, released, and cleared to continue working.

Crews from New Britain, Wallingford and Meriden took the massive fire down in less than 2 hours.

“The firefighters who were here today gave it their all. They went above and beyond. They always do but I cant say enough about them tonight. They did a fantastic job,” Dunn concluded.

Deputy Fire Chief Ryan Dunn said there were reports of a propane explosion at the house, which may have been why the fire spread so quickly.

Officials say other departments responded to the fire including Berlin, Middletown, New Britain, Southington, and Wallingford.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but fire officials believe no criminal activity is involved.

Deputy Fire Chief Ryan Dunn said there were reports of a propane explosion at the house, which may have been why the fire spread so quickly.
Deputy Fire Chief Ryan Dunn said there were reports of a propane explosion at the house, which may have been why the fire spread so quickly.