NORWALK, Conn. — Dozens of people were left homeless after a massive fire ripped through a four-story condo building in Norwalk on Monday evening, officials said.
The fire in the building at 100 Richards Ave. began at about 4:30 p.m. and quickly spread through the StoneWood Condominium, with flames shooting through the roof and heavy smoke visible for blocks, according to witnesses.
No injuries were reported in the two-alarm fire, which left the entire building uninhabitable with extensive damage, police said. Some pets were reported missing.
Firefighters who had made their way inside to battle the blaze were forced back outside as it spread. Water poured from above from ladder trucks set up in the road.
Efforts were beginning to form late Monday to help the fire victims, some of whom lost all their possessions. (See end of story.)
Firefighters from Norwalk, Rowayton, Darien and Stamford battled the blaze for over two hours. Richards Avenue and Route 1 were closed in the area, which is just a block from Norwalk Community College and Walmart.
Fire marshals and the Red Cross were on the scene late Monday. And fire crews remained to put out any hot spots that cropped up overnight.
The Norwalk Transit District had buses on scene to keep residents warm, according to state Sen. Bob Duff. "Neighbors from the surrounding buildings pitched in and really stepped up," Duff said.
"Bottom line is that all 54 units are unfit for occupancy. Even the units not impacted by the fire have either major water or smoke damage," he said. "The fire is still smoldering and personnel will be on scene all night. Firefighters are still spraying 2,500 gallons per minute to ramp down the fire."
The four-story building, which was built in 2005, sustained heavy damage, with parts of the roof and the third and fourth floors collapsing.
The website for StoneWood said the condominium "sets a new standard for living at its finest," with "modern amenities and luxurious appointments" such as granite countertops, kitchen islands, designer cabinetry, Carerra marble baths, Moen faucets, GE stainless steel appliances and balconies.
No cause of the had been determined late Monday.
Fairfield, Westport, New Canaan fire departments manned the Norwalk fire stations while the city's firefighters were on scene at the blaze.
Richards Avenue was re-opened to traffic Tuesday morning, but fire crews remained on the scene.
According to a Facebook post, Norwalk Veterinary Hospital at 726 Connecticut Ave. (next door to McDonald's), has offered to be a drop-off spot for the cause. "These families need everything from undergarments to jackets. Gift cards, are another option as well," the Facebook post said. "Please — let's help these families as they are in need right now."
Donations of gift cards and checks can be directed to the Norwalk Fire Victims Fund, c/o Michele DeLuca, 121 Connecticut Ave., Norwalk, CT 06854. Questions: email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Norwalk Deputy Director of Emergency Management Michele DeLuca said that officials are working with the state to access the Small Business Administration disaster programs as another resource to help residents. A recovery center will be set up to assist residents with information and referrals as they recover from the fire.
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