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Montville Auto Body Shop Catches Fire


An auto body shop was engulfed in flames on Wednesday in Montville, police confirm.

Fire officials responded to a structure fire at Heiner's Auto Body on Norwich New London Turnpike.

The son of the owner was transferring gas between a fuel cannister and a car when there was a spark, Ray Occhialini, the Fire Marshal, said. The man has burns on his face and shoulders but the injuries are not life threatening. 

Two cars belonging to customers were in the garage when the fire broke out and are destroyed, Occhialini said. 

There is no further information at this point. 

Watch NYE Celebrations From Around the World


New Year's Eve celebrations around the world kicked off amid a boosted security presence in many countries.

NBC News is live streaming fireworks displays in major cities at the below times: 

6 a.m. ET: New Zealand welcomes 2016 with a fireworks show in Auckland.

8 a.m. ET: Sydney, Australia, hosts its annual fireworks spectacular.

10 a.m. ET: Japanese revelers countdown to 2016 at an ancient temple in Tokyo.

11 a.m. ET: Hong Kong celebrates with a fireworks display over Victoria Harbour.

11 a.m. ET: Taiwan welcomes 2016 with a fireworks display at Taipei 101 building.

12 p.m. ET: Thailand hosts a New Year's fireworks display in Bangkok. 

3 p.m ET: Fireworks on the Burj Khalifa light up the Dubai night sky in the United Arab Emirates.

4 p.m. ET: Russian crowds celebrate at midnight in Moscow's Red Square.

5 p.m. ET: Cape Town, South Africa, rings in 2016.  

5 p.m. ET: Cairo, Egypt, lights up the pyramids with a fireworks display.

6 p.m. ET: Berlin, Germany, holds its New Year celebrations at the Brandenburg Gate.

7 p.m. ET London's Big Ben rings in the New Year for the United Kingdom.

11 p.m. ET Brazilians in Rio de Janeiro welcome 2016. 

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New Year's Eve Fire Displaces 120 in Bridgeport


About 120 people were forced from their homes on New Year's Eve as a two-alarm fire ripped through a condo building in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

The blaze at 215 Charles Street has been raging for hours.

Officials from the Bridgeport Fire Department said they received a call around 6:15 a.m. and found fire engulfing the condo building, which contains around three dozen units. Firefighters used aerial ladders to rescue people trapped inside.

"We basically avoided, in this terrible fire, any injuries," Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim said during a news briefing Thursday morning.

One firefighter suffered a minor injury and was taken to the hospital but later returned to the scene. No residents were hurt.

Part of the building has collapsed and several units were destroyed. Authorities said the structure is unsafe. Residents lost everything from Christmas presents to shoes. 

Temporary shelter will be available at the Geraldine Johnson School at 475 Lexington Avenue. Displaced residents will be provided with cots, blanket and food.

"We're going to do everything we can to make the transition from here to temporary housing, and hopefully to permanent housing — replacement for individuals — our office will do that," Ganim said.

The mayor then told a little boy they would be going shopping for new shoes and toys.

"This is a building. I don't mean it's not a great loss — it's a loss — but no one lost a life here. Nobody got injured," Ganim said. "We're all going to make a smooth transition in 2016."

Firefighters are attacking the blaze from outside the building and said they will be there for a couple more hours, "surrounding and drowning," the flames. 

The fire appears to have started in the garage, where several cars were burning under the building. Flames climbed through the structure to all levels.

Several residents said they woke up to find smoke and hear booms from below. 

Smoke is visible for more than a mile and the fire department is asking people to stay away from the area of Main and Charles streets.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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Abused Dog Found Dead in Griswold


An abused, emaciated dog was found dead in Griswold and animal control is trying to determine who is responsible for the death of the pup.

The male pit bull was alive when someone left him on Bitgood Road in Griswold, according to a Facebook post on the Town of Griswold Borough of Jewett City Animal Control page.

He had been beaten and kicked repeatedly, according to animal control.

Animal control has named the dog “Pistos,” Greek for loyalty and faith and will bury him.

Animal control asks anyone who is missing a dog or has information to call (860)383-3993. 

Photo Credit: AP

Missouri, Illinois Face 'Slow-Motion' Disaster


Forecasters warned Thursday that flood-hit parts of the nation were under the threat of a "slow-motion disaster" in the wake of storms that have killed at least 21 people in Missouri and Illinois.

Most of the dead were in Missouri, where Gov. Jay Nixon on Tuesday declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard earlier this week.

Two rivers have risen to record levels set in the so-called "Great Flood" of 1993. Meanwhile, officials closed Interstate 55 in both directions south of St. Louis to allow crews to deploy sandbags and pumps.

Photo Credit: AP

3rd Arrest in 7-Year-Old's Shooting


As police and community members search for solutions to gun violence in Miami-Dade, authorities arrested a third person in connection with the drive-by shooting that killed a 7-year-old boy over the weekend.

Michael Tobler, 19, was taken into custody Wednesday in connection with the death of Amiere Castro on Sunday. Dravein Duke, 19, and Maxwell Trewin, 18, were previously arrested.

"All of them, and they're in custody, even the ones that started the business before it happened. They are in custody right now as we speak," said Alfredo Ramirez with the Miami-Dade Police Department.

According to a police report, Tobler was "responsible for generating the retaliatory shooting" that resulted in Amiere's death. The child had been visiting family over the holidays and was sitting in the living room playing with toys when he was killed by a spray of bullets.

"When I got that phone call from Calvin, who is the major of the homicide bureau, I was mowing my lawn and I was devastated. I told him all hands on deck. We will not tolerate our youth getting killed," Ramirez recalled.

The report says Duke, Trewin and several other male teens went to a home in the 15000 block of Jackson Street around 3 p.m. Sunday to buy marijuana from Tobler.

Duke, Trewin and another teen got out of the car, while two others stayed inside. After the sale was complete, Tobler and Duke got into an argument over a possible stolen firearm, according to police.

Police said Tobler took out a gun and shoved the muzzle into Duke's abdomen, threatening to kill him. Duke, Trewin and the other teen got back into the car and started to drive away when Tobler fired three times at the vehicle, according to police. Trewin, the driver, accelerated and drove off.

Duke and Trewin returned about 20 minutes later, police said. As they drove past the house, Trewin opened fire from inside the vehicle, shooting and killing Amiere as he played in the living room.

Amiere's aunt, the homeowner, denies claims that the shooting stemmed from an earlier incident.

"I'm here for my community. I'm here for my nephew, for my niece, for my family. My house is not a drug house," she said during a forum Wednesday evening.

Amiere was not the only young victim of gun violence this week. A 13-year-old boy was severely injured in a separate shooting less than 24 hours after Amiere was killed.

Eric Watson Jr. was outside talking with friends in the 13600 block of Southwest 263rd Terrace when he was shot three times in the torso around 7 p.m. Monday. He was airlifted to Nicklaus Children's Hospital.

Family members said Tuesday Eric was out of surgery and doing well. Although he remains in critical condition, Eric is expected to make a full recovery, according to his family.

"He hasn't even begun to live. He's just a baby," neighbor Weniford Kemp said.

Residents want answers and are trying to figure out how to keep their children safe.

"We have an epidemic. There are children killing children, and we need to wipe it out," Mayor Carlos Gimenez said during the forum.

Duke made an appearance in court Wednesday, where the judge ordered him held without bond. A defense attorney called it a case of mistaken identity.

Trewin remains in the hospital after he was bitten by a K-9. It wasn't immediately clear if he or Tobler had hired attorneys who could comment on the case.

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Corrections

Silver Alert Canceled for 74-Year-Old Naugatuck Man


Police have canceled a Silver Alert for a 74-year-old Naugatuck man who had been missing since yesterday and said he has been located.

Joseph Doucette left his Naugatuck home on Wednesday and his wife told police she believes he might have gone to the Mohegan Sun Casino or toward that part of the state.

Doucette have several mental health issues, including dementia, and is not taking prescription medications, his family told police.

While his doctor told Doucette not to drive, he was believed to be driving a 2016 Mazda 6 Grand Touring with the Connecticut license place KD 83.

No additional information was immediately available. 

Photo Credit: Naugatuck Police

Security Raised at New Year Celebrations


Security was tight at New Year's Eve celebrations worldwide, in a response to high-profile attacks on public gatherings claimed by ISIS and other groups over the past year.

Hundreds of officers carrying long guns, radiation detecters and bomb-sniffing dogs were set to guard the expected 1 million revelers in Times Square, with New York City partygoers sent through a series of checkpoints.

France deployed 11,000 police officers, military personnel and firefighters to Paris, a boost of 2,000 more than last year's New Year's Eve security presence. Still, the city's firework display on the Champs-Élysées was canceled in the wake of the Nov. 13 terror attacks that killed 130 people.

Hours after Brussels canceled its fireworks display, a 10th suspected was charged in Belgium in connection with the Paris attacks.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Windshield Shatters Mid-Flight


A United Airlines flight from England to Newark Liberty International Airport was diverted Thursday because the cockpit's windshield shattered, aviation authorities said.

Flight 162, a Boeing 757 bound for the Garden State from Glasgow, was diverted to Gander International Airport in Newfoundland, Canada, after the windshield cracked, the Federal Aviation Administration said. 

The plane landed at the airport at 11:39 a.m. local time, according to FlightAware.

A spokeswoman for United Airlines said that no one was injured during the incident.

The airline is working with the 164 passengers aboard the plane to their final destinations and has sent a new aircraft to Gander to ferry the travelers to Newark. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images/File

Hoverboard Combusts During Ride


A Los Angeles man said he was riding his new $600 hoverboard in the Koreatown section of the city Wednesday morning when it suddenly caught fire.

Delvon Simmons was riding the hoverboard around 11:45 a.m. near Vermont Avenue and W. 8th Street when the wheels began smoking, he said.

Simmons said officers noticed the smoke and the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to put out the fire. Cellphone video shows the device erupts into flames. The hoverboard was apparently destroyed.

Simmons said he owned the hoverboard for about four to five months and never had any issues. He said the hoverboard was not overcharged.

The device was manufactured in China, Simmons said. He doesn't believe he will receive a refund.

Simmons' case follows several similar reports involving the self-balancing electric scooters, popular holiday gift items. Firefighters in South Carolina responded to a home earlier this week when a hoverboard exploded after being charged. No injuries were reported.

A New Jersey family said a hoverboard purchased as a Christmas gift exploded and caught fire last week in their living room, and in California, another hoverboard "burst into flames" earlier this month. No serious injuries were reported.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has launched an investigation into the safety of hoverboards.

The three largest U.S. airlines banned the devices because of potential fire danger from the lithium-ion batteries that power them. Experts urge people to charge the boards in dry, open areas, preferably outside and only when they can be closely watched.

The motorized devices prompted legislation in California, where anyone under the age of 16 will not be allowed to ride a hoverboard on public roadways, starting Jan. 1. Assembly Bill 604, approved by Gov. Jerry Brown in October, requires users to wear a helmet and will limit hoverboards on roads with speed limits that are 35 mph or less.

Hoverboard operators can only ride 15 mph and must ride in the bike lanes, according to the new law. Anyone in violation of the new rules or riding under the influence could face a fine of $250.

Photo Credit: Delvon Simmons

Taxes, Police and More: New Connecticut Laws for 2016


The new year will ring in some new laws for Connecticut. Check out how the changes affect you.


Cigarette Tax: Will increase from $3.65 to $3.90 a pack.

Income Tax: Will increase for some higher income filers.

Luxury Goods Tax: Will increase from 7 to 7.75 percent.

Military Retirement: Fully exempt from state income tax.

Corporation Income Tax: The 20 percent corporation income tax surcharge will be extended for an addition two years and imposes temporary 10 percent surcharge for 2018.

Find more here.


Hourly: Connecticut's minimum wage will go up from $9.15 to $9.60.

Find more here.


Body Cams on Police: The "Concerning Excessive Use of Force" act requires that all police officers-- state, university and municipal-- wear body camera by July 1, 2016. Some departments already started.

Appointed Prosecutor: The act will require that the chief state's attorney appoint a special prosecutor or one from a different district than where a police involved incident took place.

Diversity: The act says that law enforcement will make "efforts to recruit, retain and promote minority officers so that the unit's racial and ethnic diversity is representative" of any community served. 

Find more here.


Nonemergency Appointments: A patient must let health care providers know if they are insured before scheduling an appointment.

Bills: Providers may not restrict billed amounts, reimbursement rates or out of pocket costs.

Mental Health: Some insurers must cover mental and nervous conditions.

Find more here

Photo Credit: NBC

Part of Blue Hills Ave. Closed in Bloomfield After Hit-and-Run


Part of Blue Hills Avenue is closed in Bloomfield after a car hit a pole just south of Forest Lane around 6 a.m., according to police.

The driver ran from the car and police have not yet found the person.

Blue Hills is closed between Forest Lane and Park Avenue, so use Route 178 and Wintonbury Ave.

Eversource is responding.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Home Health Aide Accused of Assaulting Renowned ‘Louvre' Architect I.M. Pei


A home health care aide faces a felony charge of second-degree assault for allegedly attacking internationally-renowned architect I.M. Pei at his Manhattan home earlier this month, according to a criminal complaint. 

The complaint alleges Eter Nikolaishvili grabbed Pei by the right forearm Dec. 13 and forcefully twisted his arm. Pei reported suffering large round red marks over most of his right forearm, as well as bruising and lacerations that were bleeding, according to the complaint.

He said he was in "substantial pain."

According to the Post, police said Nikolaishvili hurt Pei while trying to take a phone from him after the architect said he would call police on her for doing "something bad."

Justin Feinman, Nikolaishvili's attorney, told NBC 4 New York Pei was trying to go to the bathroom at 4 a.m. and slipped; he said his client grabbed Pei's arm to keep him from falling and prevented further injury.

"How that turned into she's abusing this person who I believe she worked for for a year and a half without incident I don't know," Feinman said. "It's alleged my client twisted the arm of this elderly gentleman and that just doesn't make any sense. It's not alleged that she hit him or beat him or that there was any type of financial gain. In fact, as a result of this incident she lost her job."

Feinman said he's confident Nikolaishvili will ultimately be "completely vindicated" of the charges. He said his office's investigation is ongoing.

Nikolaishvili was released on her own recognizance after her arrest and is due back in court in March.

Pei, who designed the Kennedy Library and the Louvre's glass pyramid, has earned extensive acclaim for his projects across the globe, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and the Pritzker Prize, which is considered the Nobel Prize of architecture.

Photo Credit: AP Images

NY Man Accused of Plotting Bar Attack for ISIS on NYE


Authorities have arrested an accused ISIS supporter who allegedly planned to commit an armed attack at a bar in Rochester on New Year's Eve on behalf of the terror group, officials said Thursday.

Emanuel Lutchman, 25, of Rochester, has been charged with attempt to provide material support and resources to ISIS. 

Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren said Thursday that a New Year's Eve fireworks show had been canceled so that more officers could be deployed throughout the city. She said that there was no new credible threat, but that canceling the show would help police focus their resources elsewhere. A celebration at the city's convention center was still planned, she said. 

"We all must acknowledge that in today’s day and age any place in the world can be a target," Warren said. 

According to a criminal complaint, Lutchman began corresponding with an FBI informant in November and made numerous statements expressing his support for ISIS and his desire to join the group in Syria. Late this month, he allegedly told the informant he had been in contact with someone who identified himself as an ISIS member in Syria, and that he relayed his personal "hatred for everything in America" and his intention to join the group overseas, according to the complaint.

Since Lutchman apparently had no one to vouch for him with the group, the alleged terror operator with whom he was communicating told him he would have to prove himself, according to the complaint. Court documents say the overseas individual told Lutchman to plan an operation on New Year's Eve and to kill as many Americans as possible, then he would help him get to Syria.

When Lutchman allegedly said he hates it in the United States and was ready to "give everything up" to join ISIS abroad, the overseas individual told him, "For now do what you can over there."

Lutchman met with another FBI informant he assumed was a supporter on Monday and indicated he wanted to target a club or bar, suggesting he could sneak a bomb inside the facility, according to court documents. The complaint says Lutchman also said they should kidnap a couple of people and kill them. He said they should wear masks to avoid being identified by law enforcement officials.

At one point during the meeting, they drove by the restaurant in Rochester and Lutchman identified it as a potential target, according to court documents. He said he didn't have funds for weaponry, but said they could use knives for the attack, noting he knew someone with a machete and his wife had a dagger, according to the criminal complaint.

The next day, he called another one of his "brothers," another FBI informant, and said they needed to get gloves, masks and zip ties in the event they kidnapped someone, court documents say. On Tuesday, Lutchman and an FBI informant went to a Walmart store in Rochester to buy supplies for the operation, according to the complaint. While there, they bought ski masks, zip ties, knives, a machete, duct tape, ammonia and latex gloves, the complaint alleges.

Then Lutchman allegedly said, "It's going to get real after this. It's just you, me and the Lord. We gotta do this, we gotta do this precise. If we grab somebody, they can't live. They may identify the vehicle. They can't live."

Lutchman and the informant also talked about making a video before the operation in which they would explain their reasons for the attack and swear allegiance to ISIS, according to the complaint. Lutchman said he planned to release the video after the operation, court documents say.

Lutchman was arrested Wednesday. Prior to his arrest, he had made a video, recorded on his cellphone by one of the FBI informants, in which he swore allegiance to ISIS and its leader and claimed responsibility for the planned attack in Rochester, according to the criminal complaint. 

Lutchman is a self-professed Muslim convert with a criminal history dating back to about 2006 that includes a New York state conviction for second-degree robbery. He served five years for that crime.

Gov. Cuomo said Lutchman allegedly became radicalized while serving time in Attica. 

“According to the complaint, as part of Emanuel Lutchman’s attempt to provide material support to ISIL, he planned to kill innocent civilians on New Year’s Eve in the name of the terrorist organization,” Assistant Attorney General Carlin said in a statement. "Thankfully, law enforcement was able to intervene and thwart Lutchman's deadly plans.”

Steven Slawinski, his federal defender, declined to comment on the charges.

Cuomo praised federal agents for the arrest and urged all citizens to remain diligent, adding that New York is no stranger "to these types of incidents."

"The arrest of Emanuel Lutchman is an important reminder of the new normal of global terrorism" Cuomo said in a statement. "Today law enforcement did their job well – but the challenges we face have never been greater, and it is incumbent on every citizen to be diligent and responsible."

Authorities have said there is no credible terror threat to New York City or other locales throughout the tri-state area this New Year's Eve. Thousands of uniformed and undercover officers will flood the area near Times Square ahead of the ball drop to ensure the safety of the million revelers expected to attend.  

Photo Credit: Handout

Crews Responded to Small Mercury Spill at Ledyard Police Station


Emergency crews responded to a minor mercury spill at the police station in Ledyard on Thursday morning after a thermostat was dropped on a desk, according to police.

A supervisor with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said DEEP and firefighters responded to the police station at 11 Lorenz Parkway in Ledyard after a wall-mounted thermostat caused the spill.

Crews used a special mercury kit to clean the spill and properly dispose of it.

No injuries are reported.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

FBI Asked to Join Chicago Probe


Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez on Thursday said she has asked the FBI to assist an investigation into a recent police-involved shooting where officers accidentally shot and killed a 55-year-old mother of five in Chicago.

"This is a deeply disturbing incident that demands a very deliberate and meticulous independent investigation," Alvarez said in a statement. "At this stage, the investigation is being conducted by IPRA, but my office has also contacted the FBI to request their involvement as well."

Last weekend, police shot and killed a 19-year-old Northern Illinois University student and his 55-year-old neighbor, Bettie Jones.

Police have admitted Jones’ shooting was an accident, saying she was tragically killed while officers were responding to a domestic disturbance call on the city’s West Side. Quintonio LeGrier was also killed in the shooting after allegedly threatening his father with a metal baseball bat.

Police and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have said little about what happened the night of the shooting, citing the ongoing investigation by the city's Independent Police Review Authority.

The shooting has prompted the police department to implement a series of new policies and regulations this week and forced Emanuel to cut his family trip to Cuba short.

The changes include new police training on “de-escalation tactics” and a requirement that every beat car responding to calls be equipped with a Taser.

In addition, all Chicago police officers who have fired their weapons will be placed on administrative duty, away from the field, for at least 30 days while authorities investigate their training and fitness for duty.

The city has also called on Interim Police Supt. John Escalante and the head of Chicago's Independent Police Review Authority, Sharon Fairley, to review the department's crisis intervention and de-escalation policies. 

Photo Credit: AP

Jeb Bush Blames Obama for Trump's Rise


Jeb Bush called his GOP presidential rival Donald Trump a "creature of Barack Obama" in his latest attack on the wealthy reality star and businessman.

"But for Barack Obama, Donald Trump's effect would not be nearly as strong as it is," Bush said in an interview on NPR.

Speaking about the viability of his own campaign, Bush downplayed expectations that he must win early contests.

"The good news is, expectations are low for me, and I'm definitely gonna beat those," he said. "I feel really good about New Hampshire, to be honest with you. Just — just the way it — it feels."

Photo Credit: AP

2nd Suspect in Death of Teen in Bridgeport


Police said they have a second suspect in the homicide of 14-year-old Bridgeport boy who was killed on Christmas Eve and the person is in police custody on drug charges. 

City officials have not identified the suspect and charges in connection with this case are pending.

Twenty-three year old Michael Majors was previously charged with the murder of Luis Colon, 14, who police believe was caught in the crossfire between two groups during a drug-related shootout.

Police found Colon and 17-year-old Trey Kaiser when they responded to the area of 1160 State Street in Bridgeport for reports of a shooting. 

Bridgeport Police Captain A.J. Perez said Colon, was shot in the chest and died of his injuries at St. Vincent's Hospital. Kaiser was shot in the hand and leg and his injuries are not considered life-threatening.

Surveillance video showed a group of people outside Stylz Barber Shop.

When Majors and 17-year-old Trey Kaiser approached the group, Major pulled a gun and opened fire, according to police. A man in front of the store also pulled a gun and the two began shooting, according to police, who estimate between 10 and 15 shots were fired.

Majors initially denied any involvement, but then confessed that he was the shooter, police said. He was arrested and charged with murder. He is being held on $1 million bond. 

Police say Colon lived in the neighborhood and attended a nearby high school.

Mayors appeared in court on Monday.

Woman Shot, Puts Away Groceries


A 75-year-old woman shot in the face by a robber after leaving a Northeast Philadelphia supermarket Thursday morning walked home and put her groceries away before calling for help, according to police.

Police said the senior citizen was walking along Erdrick Street near Wellington, in Mayfair, on her way home from the ShopRite on Frankford Avenue just after 10 a.m. when she was accosted by the gunman, who shot her once in the cheek, stole her purse and took off in a silver vehicle.

In the woman's purse were a cellphone and $400 cash, police said.

Incredibly, after being shot, the victim managed to continue walking and make it back to her home about a block away, where she put away her groceries before calling for help, police said.

The woman was taken to Aria Health's Torresdale hospital, where she was in stable condition later Thursday morning. Police said she was alert and talking with detectives at the hospital.

Police continue to investigate the robbery and shooting. The gunman remains on the loose.

Anyone with information in the shooting should contact Northeast Detectives at 215-686-3153.

Photo Credit: NBC10

How to Help 120 Victims of Bridgeport New Year's Eve Fire


About 120 people were forced from their homes with nothing more than what was on their backs on New Year's Eve morning when a two-alarm fire destroyed condos in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Now they need some help as they move forward. 

Mayor Joseph Ganim was taking one family with a young son shopping to replace some of the items that they lost and many others who lived at 215 Charles Street will need to replace clothing and many other items. 

Temporary shelter will be available at the Geraldine Johnson School at 475 Lexington Avenue. Displaced residents will be provided with cots, blanket and food.

Here is how you can help the families: 

  • Donate clothing for boy and girls, from infants to teenagers
  • Clothing for men and women of all ages
  • Toys for all ages
  • Food
  • Food and items for cats and dogs.

You can drop the donations off at Health and Social Services, at 752 East Main Street in Bridgeport.

For monetary donations for the families, contact:

The Red Cross 
c/o Charles Street Fire
158 Brooklawn Avenue
Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604
Phone: 800-319-9935

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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