WFSB - Eyewitness News

Crews respond to fire on Tremont St. in Hartford on SaturdayHartford firefighters responded to an apartment fire on Tremont Street on Saturday night. Crews were called to Tremont Street just after 9 p.m. for a fire in a first-floor apartment, said Hartford Fire Department Deputy Chief Alvaro Cucuta told Channel 3. Deputy Chief Cucuta said the fire was contained to the apartment of origin and was knocked down by 9:30 p.m. One person was treated on scene by personnel for chest pains, Deputy Chief Cucuta said. Three people were displaced, Cucuta said. The Fire Marshal is investigating.
Memorial established to honor fallen heroes, families in East HartfordDozens gathered to see plans for a new memorial dedicated to honor the lives of fallen heroes and their families on Saturday in East Hartford. Unveiled on Saturday afternoon, volunteers and families who helped foster the project attended a showing of plans on how to best honor Connecticut’s 30,000 men and women who have given their lives in services to our nation. The Fallen Star Memorial, which will consist of three bronze statues, will be located on the campus of Goodwin College. "I think it’s very fitting,” said Vietnam Veteran, Dale Snellenberger. “There are a lot of people behind the scenes, they pay the ultimate price. I think it’s a very nice design.” Money is being raised to support the project. Volunteers told Channel 3 they are planning a star in the center of the design and the imagery of a seated woman holding a photo and dog tags of her beloved hero, contemplating the fallen star. The design will also feature a man and a child paying their respect to their fallen heroes. For more information, <a href="" target="_blank">click here</a>.
Hartford community leaders launch safety initiative on SaturdayHartford community and city leaders gathered in Hartford on Saturday to launch new initiatives aimed at curbing violence in the city. Channel 3 spoke with representatives from 5 local non-profits in the city who said they have a vested interest in supporting the community and strengthening youth. They said, by doing so, they hope this will have a stronger impact on reducing violence. The organizations in attendance of the coalition included COMPASS Youth Collaborative, Hartford Communities That Care, United Against Violence, Peace Center of Connecticut and the Wilson-Gray YMCA. Inside the gym at the Wilson-Gray YMCA on Saturday afternoon, the Community Safety Coalition brought together leaders with a public safety fair to support families. “Every time that a gun rings out in our street, every time that there is an incidence of violence in our community, it impacts not only those that are involved. It impacts everyone. All of us,” said COMPASS Youth Collaborative representative, Jacquelyn Santiago. Over the last five years, there have been more than 600 shootings in Hartford, and the number of shootings increased by more than 20 percent in the last year. “We are in the lives of young people every day. Extending the gaps. We are at schools, courts, prisons in the streets embedded into their homes,” said Director of COMPASS Peace Builders, Dean Jones. After years of working alongside each other, the non-profits are working together. “Making sure the community sees that solidarity makes a difference, but it's the quiet work that this team is doing behind the scenes that I think has the potential to change and save lives,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. Executive Director of the Wilson Gray YMCA on Albany Ave, Anthony Barrett said he would like to see more youth turn to their campsites for safe havens. “When you can take them out of an environment that they only know and put them in a new environment and you can provide them an opportunity to teach and mentor and build fellowship,” said Barrett. “I think those are the kind of transformative opportunities kids are really looking for and that's what a YMCA can truly bring to this coalition.” The Hartford Community Safety Coalition is planning a wide variety of initiatives for next year to support parents and their kids.
PD: Man injured after fall from a bucket truck in TollandState Police said a man is in critical condition after police said he fell from a bucket truck on Saturday afternoon. Police, Tolland Fire, and EMS responded to an incident in which a 45-year-old man fell from a bucket truck while conducting maintenance to an overhead canopy on Merrow Rd. just before 4:30 p.m. Life Star responded and took the man to Hartford Hospital where he is recovering. Troopers from the Troop C barracks are asking for witnesses to this incident to contact the barracks at 860-896-3200.
Pursuit ends in Hartford with arrest on Saturday eveningHartford Police arrested a man after a car and foot chase that ended on Columbus Blvd in Hartford on Saturday evening. Police arrested Jose Rivera-Cruz after the chase and a search revealed that Rivera-Cruz was in possession of a handgun. Police said he was last seen on Bond Street in Hartford with a gun. River-Cruz is known to police as they said he was arrested on Halloween night on Bond Street and found to be in possession of numerous guns and drugs, including a Colt M-15 rifle, a stolen 9mm Glock handgun, 366 bags of heroin/fentanyl, 6 grams of crack cocaine, 4 suboxone films, and 37 rounds of live ammunition. Charges are pending for Rivera-Cruz as the Hartford Police Violent Crimes Unit investigates.
Detours in place in Putnam after “serious” crash, police saidConnecticut State Troopers are urging drivers to take detours after they said a “serious” crash took place on Route 44 on Saturday afternoon. Police are reporting serious to life-threatening injuries in the two-car crash. The crash took place at the intersection of Route 44 and Tucker Hill Rd. Police are investigating the cause of the crash.
Woman killed in crash in Hartford on Friday eveningHARTFORD, CT (WFSB)- A Hartford woman was killed in a car crash in Hartford on Friday night. Hartford Police Department Lt. Paul Cicero told Channel 3 that 47-year-old Hartford resident, Yolanda Santiago was the victim in the deadly crash. The two-vehicle crash occurred around midnight at the intersection of Main Street and Mather Street. Two others are currently being treated at the Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. The intersection was blocked for hours as crews cleared the scene. Police are taking several factors into account as they investigate, including the condition of the road, speed, distracted driving, and if drugs and alcohol were a factor. Stay with Channel 3 for updates.
New details emerge about 'sex dungeon' run by Ellington ambulance workerELLINGTON, CT (WFSB) - New information is being released on the sex trafficking arrest of the vice president of Ellington’s Ambulance Corps. Police say <a href="" target="_blank">Simon Hessler</a> attempted to purchase someone he believed to be a pre-teen girl for sex as part of an underground business that may have been going on for years. There were red flags that had some parents calling police months before this arrest happened. Parents were uneasy when they saw Facebook communication Hessler had with a homeless woman when he offered her this place to stay in exchange for work. At the time, Hessler’s boss thought nothing of it, but parents we spoke with are now glad they told police. Hessler is accused of <a href="" target="_blank">sex trafficking children</a>. Police say this Vernon business on Talcottville Road, full of whips, chains, handcuffs and a cage, was his “sex dungeon.” He was busted after allegedly attempting to purchase a pre-teen girl for sex at this Manchester hotel he owns. Hessler is also a 10-year veteran of the Ellington Ambulance Corps. Channel 3 spoke off camera with President Peter Hany, who says Hessler’s background check was clean and the only time red flags were raised was a year ago, when communication Hessler had with a homeless woman was brought to his attention. Hany says Hessler and the woman discussed exchanging work for a place to stay at his Manchester hotel. Hany told Channel 3 that Hessler was known to offer fire victims this same type of assistance, so he didn’t think anything of it and no official complaint was made to him. But parents, who also saw screenshots of Hessler’s Facebook interaction, say he requested a full body shot of the woman and told her the type of work would be at her discretion. Hany confirms several high schoolers made up a youth group at the ambulance corps, and Hessler, the vice president, was involved in administrative duties and took their ID photos. Hany says the interactions were always with another adult present and were always professional. The knowledge Hessler was around children was enough for at least one mother to bring her concerns to the first selectwoman, state police, and the school superintendent in February. Channel 3 went to the Board of Selectmen on Friday who say they referred the complaint to state police, like they do in all cases. It’s unclear if that tip prompted police to investigate Hessler, but court documents show state police started their undercover investigation that month. Documents show Hessler allegedly asked the undercover officer for photos of pre-teen children in various stages of undress and went to elaborate steps to ensure the delivery of the person he believed to be in 6th grade. Right now, Hessler is being held on a $1 million bond. We reached out to his family, who had no comment. Hany says Hessler, who made roughly $900 annually with the ambulance corps is suspended and will likely be terminated Friday night at a closed door hearing.
Woman's body pulled from river in West HavenWEST HAVEN, CT (WFSB) – A woman’s body was found in a river in West Haven on Friday. According to police, officers were dispatched around 2:30 p.m. for the report of a possible sudden death in the area of Boston Post Road. The New Haven Fire Department had located a female in the water near the West Haven banks of the West River. The woman’s body was pulled from the river and pronounced deceased on the scene. The nature and manner of the death is being investigated. Police said the woman’s identity is unknown at this time. Stay with Channel 3 for updates on this story.
Auto body shops busy following Winter Storm ZoeMIDDLETOWN, CT (WFSB) - Friday’s commute home will be a lot easier and some may feel a bit relieved. On Thursday, there were plenty of accidents and auto body shops are busy. Auto body shops are usually busy after a storm and this storm came a bit early. “When you look at it you can see this is all pushed in, this needs a whole new quarter panel, and if you look at the tire, it’s not sitting proper, it's kicked in, so this has suspension damage. It needs a wheel, a tire,” said Patty Thibodeau, Victor Auto Body Works. This is the first car towed into Victor Auto Body in Middletown, one of many casualties from Thursday’s storm, the front of the car is worse. The radiator and other things under the hood are damaged. “I think this car is going to be totaled,” said Thibodeau. Thursday's storm packed a punch and was an early one and if you want to avoid what's happening here. “Rule of thumb, give yourself room. If you need to break you are not going to stop on a dime,” said Thibodeau. It’s not even winter yet and some are a rough start.