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One dead in three-alarm fire at Charter Oak Place in Hartford

Over 70 Hartford Firefighters battle a three-alarm fire at Charter Oak Place; over 40 rescues made

HARTFORD, Conn. — One person is dead and dozens of others were rushed to the hospital after a 3-alarm fire at an apartment building on Charter Oak Place. More than 70 firefighters worked to save people from the burning building.

"I mean flames really high, and the whole building was filled with smoke. People were screaming and hollering out their windows and stuff," said Wayne Clark, a resident of the building.

The five story building caught on fire early Sunday morning, trapping people inside as they desperately searched for a way out.

"It seemed to be impossible because we couldn’t see, we couldn’t feel anything, and we were losing our air," said Pedro Robles, who lived inside the building.

An oxygen tank exploded in the fire, causing an even bigger scare for the people inside.

"There was screaming and there was people talking about getting out and there was darkness and smoke," said Robles.

Firefighters rushed into the building, putting their ladders up and carrying people out to safety.

"These rescues were made under high heat, high smoke, zero visibility conditions," said Training Chief James Errickson of the Hartford Fire Department. Firefighters rescued more than 40 people.

"They certainly saved lives and I know it’s always incredibly tough for them when they lose a life," said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.

The more than 60 families displaced by the fire are now being helped by the Salvation Army and the Red Cross. The fire marshal is now investigating the cause of the fire.

Mayor Luke Bronin released this official statement:

"Our prayers are with all of the families affected by these fires, and we are deeply grateful to all of our first responders for their work today.  Our firefighters and police officers heroically pulled many people from the building on Charter Oak Place, and there is no doubt they saved many lives.“