Ten people are displaced after an early morning dumpster blaze at a Washington Street apartment building spread to the structure, rendering it unlivable.
No one was injured in the 5:30 a.m. fire at the , located at 150 Washington St.
"There's nothing to indicate this was arson," said Deputy Fire Chief Robert Kronenberger. "We know it originated in the Dumpster," but it's very difficult to determine a cause since any evidence is burnt up.
Glover Street neighbor Linda Honey was sleeping when she was awoken by a loud noise. “I thought it was the city picking up garbage. I said, ‘Self, what is all this noise?’ I thought a car got hit. ‘Let me get up and make sure,’” Honey said.
At the time, it the blaze was confined to just the dumpster. But then it quickly engulfed the back of the apartments. “That’s when the fire trucks pulled in,” she said.
John “Doughboy,” who preferred not to give his last name, lives on the first floor in the back. The fire began in the trash bin right outside his window, he said, clad only in boxers and smoking a cigarette.
“I called the fire department, then I called back, screaming. I said, ‘just send a policeman with a fire extinguisher.’ It took 20 minutes for them to get here,” said the retired Trumbull Fire Department lieutenant.
Kronenberger refutes that statement. "We were on scene in three, just under four minutes," he said, after checking with dispatch.
Holding a Grateful Dead framed drawing, a small metal sign reading “Lieutenant Long Hill Fire Dept.” and a handful of other possessions, John said, “By then, the side of the building was up in flames,” his voice quaking.
Building owner Ted Charton, John said, had been there earlier to assess the damage. “He was crying.”
John says he doesn’t think arson was involved. “This is the armpit of Middletown,” he said. “Even though it’s on Washington Street, people think it’s nice. No one wants to sabotage this place.”
He’s moving into an apartment on Pearl Street, one of two residents who Charton has offered lodging at other apartments he owns temporarily.
Firefighters left the scene by 8:30 a.m.
A spokeswoman for the city health department said will be helping some of the displaced and the American Red Cross is aiding residents who don’t have another place to stay find shelter.