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Norwich firefighter calls 'mayday' while fighting house fire

The firefighter issued a mayday call when he realized he was too disoriented to find his own way out.

NORWICH, Conn. — Norwich fire officials say they are feeling thankful after one of their firefighters got trapped in a burning house Wednesday night. That firefighter was able to get out without injuries, according to officials.

The fire happened at a home on Norwich Avenue around 8 p.m.

Battalion Chief Marc Benjamin told FOX61 when firefighters arrived, they found a two-family home engulfed in flames. The family who lived there was not inside at the time of the fire.

Both Taftville and Norwich fire departments began attacking the fire, but Benjamin said the water pump failed on the Norwich engine, making the Taftville engine the primary water pump source to fight the fire.

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Benjamin said firefighters performed routine checks on the engine just hours earlier and everything was working fine. They were still able to quickly get the fire out with the help of Taftville crews.

“The pump was checked Wednesday early in the morning, but it’s a 30-year-old piece,” Benjamin said.

He said while a Norwich fire crew was on the second floor, a firefighter got separated from his group.

Benjamin told FOX61 the firefighter issued a mayday call when he realized he was too disoriented to find his own way out.

The Mohegan FAST team, a team specifically for rescues like this one, was called to the scene to rescue the firefighter.

The battalion chief said the Mohegan team and other crew members were able to help the firefighter out without injury and he went right back to work after getting checked by paramedics. The battalion chief said they are grateful the firefighter is OK.

“I can’t say it enough, this is a brotherhood we look out for each other and being the incident commander and hearing that mayday, it’s something you never want to experience,” Benjamin said.

Benjamin said they were surprised when the mayday call came through but had a plan in place and got the fire out.

“It’s very uncommon but it’s something we are all trained in. We have a procedure. The FAST team's specific job - if a firefighter is down or disabled, that’s the only reason they’re there on scene and it was handled well. All companies worked well, it was a successful outcome,” Benjamin said.

It's too soon to know why or how the fire started but fire officials told FOX61 they will be on the scene investigating until they have more answers.

Brooke Griffin is a reporter for FOX61 News. She can be reached at bgriffin@fox61.com. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


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