Officials with the American Red Cross are assisting nearly 50 people Sunday, who cannot return to their homes in the south end of Hartford, after a car fire did extensive damage to the building.
According to police and fire officials, a call came in at about 6:25 a.m. Witnesses reported a vehicle fire under a covered portion of 755 Wethersfield Ave.
"They were four vehicles fully engulfed in flames in the carport. Firefighters maintained an aggressive interior approach to maintain and confine the fire to the carport area," said Hartford Fire Chief Carlos M. Huertos.
The four-vehicle fire sent heavy smoke into the building and residents were forced many to evacuate their homes early Sunday morning.
"It sounded like ‘bing bang, bing bang,'" said Hartford resident, Jennifer Patski, who watched the scene unfold from her window. "I saw a bunch of smoke coming up from underneath and mad flames coming out."
Some residents told Eyewitness News they heard smoke alarms and ran out of their apartments so fast they didn't have time to grab their shoes.
Firefighters made multiple rescues, including carrying out a person in a wheelchair, officials said. The fire also damaged the electrical and water systems in the building.
"It compromised the electrical and the domestic water from the intense heat. We're going to have to close the building down until those repairs can be made," Huertos said.
Emergency crews responded and quickly put the blaze out while they helped to evacuate the apartment building.
The Red Cross is now assisting those that were displaced - 43 adults and six children. No injuries were reported as a result of the fire.
The official cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Residents, who didn't want to identified, told Eyewitness News Sunday's fire is not the first time one of the burned cars has been targeted. They said they can remember at least two times in the past three years that same car had its windows smashed.
There is no word yet on when repairs to the electrical and water systems will be made.
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