Emergency lights for the stairwells from dskelevator's blog

Residents of an apartment in New Haven fended off the bitter cold Thursday morning following a fire that cut power to their building. About 130 people were inside the building near Ferry Street and Grand Avenue at the time of the fire. Fire officials told Eyewitness News shortly after 8 a.m., they made a decision to evacuate everyone. Lydia Melendez said she lives on the fifth floor of the Fairbank Apartment Building on Ferry Street. She said around 2:30 a.m., she realized the power and heat were out. "Smelled like burning rubber,” Melendez said. “Up to the fifth floor, I could smell." Firefighters said the building was very warm before the power went out and the walls are made of concrete, but with the morning's frigid weather, they did not want to take any chances. Many of the people are elderly or special needs. Firefighters said they were having people call family members. If residents have nowhere to go, officials said they've secured two hotels. "The fire originated on the second floor in the electrical room," said Chief Allyn Wright of the New Haven Fire Department. "It was a very small, minor fire. It was extinguished by the sprinkler system. But unfortunately, the water traveled down to the floor below, which was the main power source for the electrical room. That shorted out, and they lost power to the whole building." Firefighters said that not only was the electrical system shot, but water got on the China Passenger Elevator and actually froze the doors shut. Heavy equipment had to be brought in to thaw out the doors and aid in the evacuation. Backup generators eventually powered up that China Elevator and emergency lights for the stairwells. Crews said they were able to get all 130 residents out. "We have 10 degree weather as you can very well feel and we want to make sure safety is first and foremost," said Rich Fontana, with New Haven Emergency Management. Many residents had to call family to pick them up. "I was just worried with her asthma,” said Marisol Lopez-Castro, who picked up her mother. “And everyone here has medical issues that can't be properly addressed when you lose power." Emergency officials said they took down the names, numbers and locations of everyone who was evacuated so they can contact them when it's safe to return. One firefighter did suffer from chest pains and was taken to the hospital. Two residents were also put on oxygen. Everyone is expected to be OK. The Red Cross was also on the scene to assist anyone who needed help.
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By dskelevator
Added Aug 7

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