By STEPHEN SINGER, Associated Press
PUTNAM, Conn. (AP) _ A fire raced through a multifamily home in northeastern Connecticut, killing two children and injuring their mother and three other adults.
The roof of the Putnam home was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived at about 1 a.m., and it later collapsed into the third floor, where the children were, authorities said. The fire wasn’t under control until about 6:30 a.m.
The bodies of the two children were found Tuesday afternoon. Names and other details were not immediately available.
Neighbor Brian Vaiciulis said the sound of a truck engine woke him up at about 1:20 a.m.
“I got up and I saw the lights on the fire trucks,” said Vaiciulis, who didn’t know any residents of the house that caught fire. “Then I saw the flames over the house next door. They were pretty high.”
With the children initially unaccounted for, police Chief Rick Hayes told The Associated Press that officials were not able to immediately enter the third-floor area for safety reasons. Putnam Fire Marshall Norm Perron said the top floor was stabilized at about noon.
Hayes said the siblings’ mother was one of the injured adults and that he was told she is pregnant with twins. She was being treated for undisclosed injuries at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, Mass.
Officials said the three other adults were treated for smoke inhalation at Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam.
Fire investigators were trying to determine the cause of the blaze.
Officials believe there were five apartments in the Victorian-style house, which was built in 1867 and had nearly 4,500 square feet of living space, according to town records. It was gutted by the fire.
Records show the property’s owner is Eastern Connecticut Contractors LLC. The AP left messages Tuesday for officials with the company and the firm’s attorney.
Martin Renaud, who lives across the street from the house, said he awoke at about 12:45 a.m. and saw trucks with flashing lights.
“I saw the windows. They were flashing orange,” he said about the burning home.
Renaud added that the house lasted “through days of heating with coal and heating with wood and then it burns in 2013.”
Associated Press writer Dave Collins in Hartford, Conn., contributed to this report.
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