Flames surged through the blown-out windows of 157 Orange St. — home to The Trinity Bar and, above, a number of apartments — after the building caught fire Friday afternoon.
The New Haven Fire Department received a call reporting the fire at 1:54 p.m. and arrived on the scene minutes later. Firefighters contained the blaze within 45 minutes, and police cordoned off the block of Orange Street between Elm and Chapel streets.
One man suffered severe burn wounds and was taken to Yale New Haven Hospital before being transferred to the Bridgeport Hospital burn unit, Fire Chief John Alston told the New Haven Register. The man is currently in critical condition.
“It was a huge fire,” said Lindsey LoRicco, who runs a flower shop just down the street from The Trinity Bar. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”
According to the New Haven Independent, later that afternoon fire investigators found a fuel tank in one of the apartments that may have helped cause the fire.
Matt Feiner, the owner and founder of The Devil’s Gear Bike Shop, was also taken to YNHH after inhaling a significant amount of smoke when he, co-worker John Brehon and two other civilians entered the burning building in an effort to rescue trapped occupants. The group brought a fire extinguisher, but, by the time they reached the fire, there was little they could do.
To keep from inhaling the smoke, Brehon used his shirt to cover his mouth. He and Feiner turned back only when they heard an explosion nearby.
“It was a lot of smoke, flames literally shooting out of one particular room or one apartment,” Brehon said. “It was intense.”
Firefighters, police officers and Trinity employees on the scene Friday afternoon all declined to comment to the News.
Contact Jacob Stern at firstname.lastname@example.org .