The New Haven Fire Department and Yale Environmental Health and Safety are investigating a fire in a mobile home near the Yale School of Medicine in which one woman was injured Monday morning.
In a Tuesday morning email to the Yale community, Yale Police Department Chief Ronnell Higgins said that the fire occurred next to a Yale building at 41 Daggett St. He added that preliminary assessments indicated that the fire was caused by a propane stove.
Lt. Ben Vargas of the fire department said officers were dispatched after an alarm at 9:43 a.m. Firefighters successfully controlled the incident by 10:31 a.m. Chief of Operations Matthew Marcarelli said the victim had sustained serious burns to her hand and face and was being transferred to the burn unit at Bridgeport Hospital for further treatment. He added that preliminary reports indicated that she had turned on a stove in the mobile home and left it unattended, resulting in a buildup of gas which caused a flash fire.
“It looked spectacular, but we had it under control relatively quickly,” Marcarelli said. “We’re trying to find out exactly what was going on.”
Officers are unsure whether the injured woman was living in the mobile home or otherwise utilizing the space. Marcarelli said he does not believe the parking lot is not on Yale property, but serves 690 Howard Street — the site of Walter Brooks house, a residential care facility.
Although Marcarelli said that the fire had caused damage to a Yale building, Vargas said that the blaze was contained to the mobile home unit and did not affect the surrounding structures.
Mike Novela, who was at the site of the blaze, said that he heard an explosion and was on site before the arrival of the emergency services. He added that he believed the injured woman was “blown out of [the unit].”
Ralph Cohen, a fire investigator, said Project M.O.R.E. — an organization, housed in Walter Brooks, which aims to reintegrate ex-offenders into the community through residential programs — owns the lot. Cohen added that he believed the injured woman was not living in the trailer, and that the mobile home was being used as part of a project at the Walter Brooks house.
Sara Seymour contributed reporting.