BRISTOL - Firefighters rescued a 70-year-old woman from a house fire Monday evening.
The woman, identified as Donna Lazar, the homeowner, was taken aboard the emergency Life Star helicopter to the Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital. The extent of her injuries is not yet known. Fire Marshal Robert Grimaldi said she is in “critical but stable condition.”
In addition to burns, Lazar suffered some smoke inhalation.
Two cats and a dog died in the fire. No firefighters were injured.
The fire was called in by a neighbor at about 9:39 p.m. The caller said smoke could be seen in the area of Salem Lane. Firefighters then found fire showing on the first floor of 38 Topsfield Road, which is one street over from Salem Lane.
Firefighters entered through a rear door and found Lazar unconscious on the first floor. She was rescued and revived at the scene before she was brought to Bristol Central High School, where Life Star landed.
Dep. Chief Robert Poggio said the three-man crew from Tower 1 deserves a lot of credit for making the rescue.
“They went in without hose lines to find the occupant,” Poggio said, adding that the crew from Engine 1 backed them up with hoses for protection, as the home was still burning at this point.
The fire, which extended to the second level of the one-and-a-half story home, was extinguished in about 20 minutes. Grimaldi said firefighters from Wolcott were called in for mutual aid. The tanker trucks they used came in very handy, he said, as there aren’t many fire hydrants in the area.
“Wolcott was great with their mutual aid,” the fire marshal said.
The home sustained “significant damage” to the first floor and some heat and smoke damage to the second story, Grimaldi said.
Should she be released from the hospital, Lazar would need to stay with friends or family or accept assistance from the American Red Cross, as the home has been left uninhabitable. Grimaldi said firefighters have their finger crossed, hoping she will pull through.
The cause of the blaze is still being investigated. It appears to have started in a first-floor bedroom.
According to Grimaldi, the home did not have any smoke alarms. He said it was fortunate firefighters were able to rescue her from the burning house.
“She was probably sleeping,” the fire marshal said.
It appears as though Lazar tried to get out of the home on her own, but became incapacitated after inhaling all the fumes, Grimaldi continued.
According to city records, the Cape Cod style home was built in 1949. It has vinyl siding and oil heat.
The home was purchased by Lazar in February 2001 for $65,000, city records said. It has been foreclosed by the bank.