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Report released on fire that killed New Haven firefighter 1 year ago

Investigators said there was no criminal aspect to the blaze

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Connecticut State Police have released their report on the investigation into the fire that took the life of New Haven firefighter Ricardo Torres Jr. last year.

Investigators said the fire originated in the basement of the two-family home and spread to the first and second floors, causing severe damage and collapsing the floors. However, because of the extent of the damage and lack of physical evidence, the cause of the fire could not be determined. They said there was no criminal aspect to the fire. 

The fire that took Torres' life started just before 1 a.m. on May 12, 2021. Torres and his company were called to the scene and they managed to rescue two individuals inside.

RELATED: New Haven Fire Department remembers fallen firefighter Ricardo Torres Jr. one year later

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Torres and another firefighter were trapped in the fire. 

"Conditions in that house may have been a little bit over excessive with stuff in the way and it’s very easy in our job to get to get disoriented," Pat Cannon, President of New Haven Firefighters Local 825, said at the time.

Torres radioed a mayday alert to the crew outside. Officials said he reported being lost and disoriented. 

When their fellow firefighters got to Torres, they found him and Lt. Samod Rankins unconscious with their air supply tanks empty – something that can happen in roughly 15 minutes.

RELATED: 'Wish I can trade places with you' | New Haven Fire Lt. Samod Rankins pens note about recovery from tragic fire that killed Ricardo Torres, Jr.

After he was rushed to the hospital, 30-year-old Torres died from his injuries. 

Rankins was hospitalized from his injuries. 

Doug Stewart is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. He can be reached at dstewart@fox61.com.


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