The East Main Street fire burn victim, David Mercado, 50, passed away March 18 from critical injuries sustained in the March 8 blaze, according to Middletown Police. The cause of the fire is unknown and is being investigated by the South Fire District fire marshal's office and the police investigative services division.
A Middletown man was seriously injured in a swiftly moving fire that destroyed a wood-frame house at 159 East Main St. Thursday morning.
The man, whose identity is not known, was flown to a Bridgeport burn center, according to Acting Police Chief William McKenna. Two others injured in the heavy blaze were taken to Middlesex Hospital. The extent of their injuries and the cause of the fire are unknown, Lt. Heather Desmond says.
Middletown, South Fire, Westfield and Durham Fire Departments responded to the two-alarm blaze, which was called into 911 at 8:34 a.m., Desmond says. It was knocked down about 30 minutes later.
David Coleman, who has lived in an apartment in the home for seven years, says he was alerted by his friend Freddie, who owns Hickey’s Deli on the corner of West Silver Street and East Main. “He came running out, banged on the door, ‘David, you gotta get out, you gotta get out — the front of the building is on fire!’ so I grabbed a few of my things and I jumped in the car to move my car and I pulled out of the driveway and part of the roof was coming down in pieces,” Coleman says.
He believes the fire began on the first floor. “That fire was really going. When I looked outside there was a lot of smoke,” Coleman says. “The people in the back upstairs went to work early this morning so they were not home. The lady in the front upstairs, she was home, and she was able to get out.”
He heard from other witnesses that a “gentleman” Coleman didn’t know and guesses was a guest, was burned on the arms because “the curtains caught fire and he tried to pull them down and that’s possibly why they got burned.”
The Middletown Assessor’s office lists 159 East Main Street as a two-family home built in 1900 with four to eight apartment units and 2,614 square feet. It is located next door to Middlesex Supply and on the corner of West Silver Street and owned by Brian J. Goulet of East Hampton.
Desmond said it was unclear if winds, gusting southwest from 15 to 20 mph, were a factor in how quickly the fire tore through the home. Police had East Main Street blocked off at Hickey's Delicatessen all the way to Cooley Avenue and Silver Street from Elm Street in front of the Post Office to the corner of East Main and West Silver for about an hour.
Coleman, who has lived in an apartment in the home for seven years, says the fire began on the first floor. “The lady in the front upstairs she was home and she was able to get out,” but, he says, very worried about her two cats.
“That fire was really going. When I looked outside there was a lot of smoke,” Coleman says. This is the second time in eight years that a home on the block was destroyed by fire. At the time, Coleman says, he lived half a block away and he was displaced from his apartment.
Coleman says fire officials told him today the fire hadn’t reached his apartment way in the back of the house. He was hopeful none of his possessions had been damaged.
“I’ve been redecorating. I’ve just retired from the state,” Coleman says.
Animal control was on scene searching for two cats that escaped from the home.
The investigation is ongoing.
A morning fire at a 159 East Main St. home has left three people injured, one of them with serious burns, according to fire officials.
Firefighters have extinguished the heavy blaze. The fire was reported around 8:34 a.m. and fire crews remain at the scene, though the fire was out by 9 a.m., officials said.
One man who suffered serious burns was flown to the Bridgeport burn center. Two other victims were taken by ambulance to .
The Middletown Assessor database says the home is owned by Brian J. Goulet of East Hampton.
Patch will update this story as more information becomes available.