Photo via First Selectman Dan Jerram's Facebook page.
Photo via First Selectman Dan Jerram's Facebook page.

NEW HARTFORD —  A fire severely damaged the building known as the New Hartford House during the early morning hours of Tuesday, Aug. 10.
The building, which is in the center of town and is right next to Town Hall, has 14 apartments and six businesses.
The residents of the building were not hurt in the fire, but all 21 residents been displaced. The Red Cross is assisting the tenants of the building.
Over 100 firefighters responded to the fire from 29 departments. Three firefighters have reportedly been taken to the hospital for injuries. As of 10 a.m. the full extent of the damages to the building is not known.
However, it has been reported that the second and third floors in the rear of the building have collapsed.

Update 2:30 PM

A 26 year-old firefighter from the Burlington Fire Department was critically injured in the fire. According to a press release from department Fire Chief Michael Boucher, the firefighter experienced a medical emergency while fighting the fire and was transported to John Dempsey Hospital in Farmington. The firefighter, who is not being identified, is in critical condition at the hospital.

Alanna Sartirana, owner of the New Hartford Barber Company which was in the building, posted the following message on Facebook:
“At 3 am I got devastating news that the building we are in was on fire. It feels like a nightmare. So many people have lost their homes, everything they own. I am grateful enough that I can go home at the end of the day but many people can’t tonight. It is with a heavy heart to post this, I’m absolutely heartbroken. We will be looking for a new place to call home very soon, but the wound is fresh. My heart aches. Our shop fish Klaus made it out safely though, as well as everyone else in the building and that is all that matters. I will be posting updates as soon as I get them. I will be reaching out to everyone in a bit to start figuring out scheduling, I lost all of my tools so I’ll be starting fresh. I’m going to miss this beautiful place I called mine for the last 9 months.”

Karen Tyson, former owner of Passiflora Café, which eventually became The Farm River Café, posted the following message on Facebook:

“My heart and soul, and business, Passiflora, was inextricably linked to the historic 1850 house, which tragically burnt this morning. This historic building was the part of so many stories, from the amazing Samele family who owned Chatterley’s and gave so much to the community, to all the tenants, businesses and community that were part of this building. This place was my life for close to 16 years and it was my honor that our stories intertwined. I am so grateful to live in this area and grateful for all the fire fighters, first responders, Red Cross, and this community. Please contact me if there is anything I can do to help.”

Update 4 p.m.
First Selectman Daniel Jerram said that Route 44 will be shut down for the rest of the night. “State officials are still working with local officials to see if they can find a cause,” Jerram said. “They are still behind the building and they evaluating if there is an eminent threat of failure that could cause a public safety risk. Once we get through that we’ll decide what happens to the building. We’re all disappointed and devastated about what happened.”

Relief efforts for those displaced by the fire are currently underway:

First Selectman Daniel Jerram posted on his Facebook page: “If you would like to help (gift cards are best), please contact Christine Hayward @ 860-379-3389.”

Photos by Darcy Abbott

This story will be updated.