By Alex Ceneviva - WTNH.com Staff
Published: February 8, 2018, 12:01 pm
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH)– Fire crews from Middletown and several surrounding towns teamed up to battle a heavy fire at the Northwoods Apartments on Town Colony Drive in Middletown.
Ali Tariq, a resident there, called 911 just after 11 am. “I’m lucky to be alive,” he said. “I don’t care about the damages.”
Fire officials say 24 units sustained some sort of damage. At the filing of this report, they tell News8 they know where the fire started — in a unit on the 3rd floor — but, they don’t know how the fire started.
Firefighters were able to rescue a mother and her baby in one unit and a man who was asleep in another. Other residents were able to escape on their own. Some of them were alerted to the fire because Tariq ran around yelling — alerting them.
“I was yelling fire in the building everyone has to get out!” he said. “And my next door neighbors — they grabbed the 1 year-old baby and they just ran out.”
Mediha Shafqat was one of the neighbors who heard Tariq screaming. That’s how she and her parents escaped.
“I’m just really thankful for our neighbors,” she said.
Shafqat’s father was one of 3 residents injured. He suffered a wrist injury when he went back into the apartment building and slipped while trying to rescue her cat.
“It just shows he’s really sweet and kind and loving towards everybody,” Shafqat said.
At least ten pets were rescued — they were all taken to Middletown Animal Control for safe keeping. One dog died in the apartment complex. It took about 45 minutes for firefighters to control the flames. One firefighter was injured.
“Partial ceiling collapse came down hit him in the head and shoulders,” said South District Fire Chief Michael Howley. “He’s okay.”
Looking at the damage, people in the apartment community said it’s a miracle no one was seriously hurt.
Everyone made it out.
“I’m grateful,” Tariq said. “Thank God everybody made it out.”
It’s not clear how many people were displaced in those 24 units, but the Fire Chief says they will make sure everyone will be okay.
“It’s devastating. Your whole life is turned upside down,” said Chief Howley. “We do have the Red Cross and The Salvation Army involved. We do have to find housing for these people and assist them.”