Neighbors Suspect Squatters In Fire
by Nicolás Medina Mora Pérez | Jun 28, 2012 7:06 pm
The neighborhood’s children had been hearing strange noises coming from the empty house next door at 13 Clay St. Later, they saw smoke rise from the house.
Firefighters rushed to the Fair Haven house shortly after 4:30 p.m. Thursday to extinguish a single-alarm fire. The fire started in the basement, according to Assistant Fire Chief Ralph Black. Firefighters put out it out in 10 minutes. Nobody was hurt, and the building did not suffer severe structural damage.
The cause is under investigation.
Neighbors said they suspect that a group of troublemakers who’ve been staying at the house had something to do with the fire.
Top Fair Haven cop Sgt. Anthony Zona said the house is scheduled for demolition. He said he arrested two people who had been in the basement at the fire. He had them arrested for trespassing. “It was boarded up. They shouldn’t have been there.”
“We caught them over at the McDonald’s on Ferry Street” based on a complaint,” he said.
“I have no idea if they set the fire,” Zona said. The city’s arson unit is investigating that question.
A group of children who live nearby—their parents asked that they remain unidentified—said in Spanish that they saw “an adult and two kids” leaving the building right before the fire started.
“I just saw a lot of smoke coming out of the house right after they left,” said one of them.
Almost every night for the past two weeks, the children had heard “weird noises” coming from the house.
“A sir and a lady sleep there,” said one of the kids. “They were in the house this morning.”
One of the children added that he’d heard “a sound like a bomb” a few nights ago.
Brother Stephen, a Catholic seminarian who lives next door to the damaged house, corroborated the children’s story.
“I was out in the front trimming the hedges,” he said, “and then I saw a couple of kids ... I don’t want to get anyone in trouble.”
Brother Stephen said that a group of people had been using the house to drink, sleep, and set off firecrackers.
“It’s bad,” he said. “The other night they woke me up at three in the morning, and I looked out the window and saw a kid taking drugs in his arm.”
The future priest said he was worried about the firecrackers. He said he considered going to Mutual Housing, the agency that owns the property.
“I feel really guilty,” he said. “I was thinking of going before the 4th of July. I didn’t want my own house set on fire.”
Mutual Housing could not be reached for comment. The Register quoted a Mutual Housing official saying the agency plans to build a new structure there.
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“I would hate to get anyone in trouble”. From a Catholic seminarian? He considered calling mutual housing? How about actually calling the police? What about other children that could have been hurt or worse, or simply the destruction of private property? I’m sorry, lame excuses that don’t give me hope for the archdiocese. I know my neighbors would be on the phone with New Haven’s finest, and hunting down the parents of these “children”, and their calling is much less lofty.