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Fire at Ansonia Factory


Firefighters are battling a fire at a factory in Ansonia.

The three-alarm fire is at the Farrel Corp. factory at 25 Main Street, according to fire officials.

Firefighters have run hoses across railroad tracks, affecting trains on Metro North's Waterbury Branch, according to a Metro North spokesperson.

Emergency crews expect to be at the scene for several hours, according to fire officials.

There is no word on injuries.

No Foul Play in Southington Deaths: Police


Bodies of a man and woman were found inside a home on Cedar Drive in Southington on Wednesday afternoon and police said the medical examiner determined that the woman died of natural causes. 

Police have not yet made an official ruling on the man's death and said further forensic studies are required. 

Officers went to 27 Cedar Drive at 2:57 p.m. for a welfare check when a delivery man called and said he saw several newspapers accumulating outside of the home and no one answered the door.

Once police were inside, they found the bodies.

Police said there are no indications of foul play, no indication that either individual was the victim of a homicide and no evidence that a crime occurred inside the residence.

The names of these individuals will not be released until an official identification is made by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Southington firefighters tested the air inside the home, but did not detect carbon monoxide or other hazardous gases, according to police.




Sex Charges Filed Against Suffield School Tutor


A Suffield school employee and former leader of the Shriners in Springfield has been charged with child pornography possession, posing a child in the nude and additional charges.

Gardner Whitney, 61, of Westfield, Massachusetts, was charged with indecent assault and battery, four counts of possession of child pornography, three counts of posing a child in the nude, and three counts of secretly recording a nude person, according to the Hampden County District Attorney’s office. He was arraigned on Wednesday.

According to WWLP, Whitney denied the charges.

The Suffield School Department issued a statement on Friday afternoon.

“I received notification on January 23, 2013, from the Suffield Police Department, that a non-certified employee of the Suffield Public Schools was arrested on January 22, 2013 by Massachusetts State Police for possession of child pornography on equipment unrelated to school,” Karen Baldwin, Superintendent of Schools in Suffield, said in a statement. “In accordance with its standard procedures, the District immediately began to work collaboratively with the police to investigate this allegation. The District will review the police reports and any further proceedings in this action to determine what, if any, further action should be taken by the Suffield Public Schools.  As this is an ongoing investigation at this point, it would not be appropriate to comment further.  However, please be assured that, as always, the safety and welfare of all of our students is our first priority.”

Whitney has been with Suffield schools since 2009 and works as a tutor. School officials said that he is always with a staff member when he is with students.

The Shriners also issued a statement.

“We are saddened and deeply disappointed by the allegations facing former Melha Shriner Potentate, Gardner Whitney. Our thoughts and prayers are with the alleged victims during this difficult time.We expect our members to be professional, moral and ethical in all of their interactions with children, colleagues and community members. We will not tolerate any conduct that is inappropriate and unbecoming of a Melha Shriner. We will take corrective action and all disciplinary measures under organization by-laws whenever there is evidence of any misconduct. We encourage members of the Melha Shriners and the community to support each other through this difficult time, and look to a more positive tomorrow.”


Frigid Temperatures Lead to Shelter Overcrowding


Some area homeless shelters have expanded their hours in this cold snap to operate around the clock to help people in need.

One of those is the Immaculate Conception men's shelter on Park Street in Hartford.  That's where Reinaldo Albarran is staying.

"Really cold. Really, really cold, you know. I was out there for a while. I started to turn blue when they told me to come in here," said Albarran.

The shelter typically houses 140 people a night but they've had at least 20 extra people all week. They estimate half of them are staying during the day when the shelter would typically be closed.

"Since Martin Luther King Day we've been open 24-seven. Normally the shelter's only open from four o'clock in the afternoon until eight o'clock the next morning," said Fred Lynn, the shelter's executive director.  "We have a no turn away policy.  We're not going to turn anyone away."

Other shelters are also packed, said Lynn.

"The weather is bad. It's too cold out there," said Willie Abrom, who is staying at the Immaculate Conception shelter.

At Immaculate Conception, they expect to be open around the clock through Sunday and then expect to return to normal hours when the weather warms up.

"I would not even want to think about what would happen if people were sleeping outside right now," said Lynn.


Police Search for Suspects in Meriden Home Invasion


A Meriden neighborhood  is on edge as police continue to search for two men after a home invasion and robbery on Akron Street Thursday morning.

Police believe the two Spanish-speaking me forced their way into the multi-family home where the tied a woman up using zip ties and robbing an unspecified amount of personal belongings.

Police say the husband of the woman found her bound when he arrived home from work.
Evelia Gonzalez and her daughter, Edith, live above the victims. They say they were not home at the time but the crime is unsettling.

“I was working when my husband called me and he told me about what happened on this floor,” says Evelia. “I was scared and I called her at school and she was scared too.”

Police say they the two men left in a grey vehicle with a gold emblem on the back. The vehicle had out of state license plates with a white background and blue lettering.

Across the street, Antoniette Dighello, a mother of two, says she did not notice anything suspicious Thursday. She says the victims keep to themselves.

“They’re very quiet neighbors. They just do their own thing. You wouldn’t think something like that would happen out here.”

Meriden police continue to investigate and ask anyone with any information to give them a call.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

New Leads in CT Man's Death in Florida


A newly released sketch could answer a question that his been plaguing one Connecticut family since October, when a father and husband was found dead in Deerfield Beach.

Jay Harper, from Southbury, was visiting South Florida from Connecticut on business. He was staying at the Embassy Suites on South Ocean Way. His body was found behind the hotel, in the water near rocks.

"That's the hardest part," Jay Harper's wife Karen said. "In a second, it's all gone and you don't know why."

Detectives say a woman he was with the night he died was questioned, but is not a suspect. Also seen there around the same time – the man whose face was sketched. Some people say he was acting suspicious, and now, detectives want to talk to him.

Detectives aren't saying how Harper died, but are calling his death a homicide because he sustained injuries they do not believe came from the rocks on the beach where his body was found.

More than three months later, Karen Harper and the couple's two kids, Nick and Megan, came to South Florida to plead for help.

"It blows my mind," 19-year-old Megan Harper said. "He was a sweet person. I want answers."

Nick Harper, who is 16, said it was a trip to South Florida he didn't want to make. But his mother hopes their interview with the media will keep Harper's story alive and bring them some answers that will lead to closure.

"He's part of a bigger picture. He's not just someone who didn't come home," Karen said.

If you have any information about this crime, or think you know who the man is in the sketch, call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-232-3206.

Three Arrested for Trying to Drive Black Family out of Compton


Two men and a teenage boy were arrested in connection with a series of race-based attacks on an African American family in an attempt to drive them out of Compton, in Los Angeles County, sheriff’s officials said.

A group of Latino males who claimed to be in a local street gang used metal pipes and shouted racial epithets at a black man who had recently moved into the neighborhood, sheriff’s officials said.

One of the suspects, identified as Efren Marquez, 21, allegedly pointed a gun at the victim and threatened to shoot him while he was being beaten with a metal pipe allegedly by a second suspect, identified as Jeffrey Aguilar, 19, officials said.

After the attack, the group left in a black sport utility vehicle.

Marquez and Aguilar returned 30 minutes later with a group of up to 20 gang members, who surrounded the front of the victims’ home shouting racial epithets and telling them that members of the African American race (using the ‘n-word’) were not allowed to live in the neighborhood, sheriff’s officials said.

An unidentified member of the group threw a beer bottle through the front living room window.

Sheriff’s officials said the suspects continued to drive by the home of the family -- which includes four children -- several times a day, shouting racial epithets while ordering the family to leave the neighborhood.

Aguilar, Marquez and a juvenile were arrested on Thursday, said Capt. Mike Parker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau.

They face hate crime charges.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Sheriff’s Operation Safe Streets Bureau gang investigators at (310) 603-3100 or the Compton Sheriff’s Station at (310) 605-6500.

John McAfee Speaks Out

Silicon Valley pioneer John McAfee sits down with NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai.

Support Sandy Hook Businesses Today

Business owners in  Newtown have noticed a decline in sales since the tragic school shooting on December 14.
“People weren’t coming in that live around the area for haircuts and shopping because either they couldn’t get here, or because they couldn’t be in the town…they were hurt,” said Marci Benitez, owner of Kids Kuts.
So small business owners have decided to host the “I (heart) Sandy Hook Cash Mob” from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. Shoppers are being asked to spend $20 at any one of the local shops.
Those who wish to help but are unable to make it to one of the local shops may call and donate over the phone.

The goal of the cash mob isn’t just to attract more customers , it’s to keep them coming. Owners like Benitez offered customers coupons for their next visit.

Many Newtown businesses have been struggling since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last month.
Many visitors to the town, including news crews and those paying their respects at memorials, flooded the streets causing traffic jams that made it near impossible for anyone to shop at local stores.
Local store owners also cite losing holiday shoppers as one of the main reasons for their recent struggles.

Regardless of how long it takes for businesses to normalize, Benitez believes Sandy Hook will bounce back.

“We are strong. We are sticking together and helping each other out.”

For more information, including a list of participating shops and restaurants, visit http://www.experiencesandyhook.com/Events.html or the Facebook page “I Love Sandy Hook Cash Mob.”


Donations of Warm Clothing Needed


InterCommunity Inc. will be hitting the streets armed with warm clothing in an effort to help the homeless population.

On Tuesday, Jan.  29 from 7 p.m.- 11 p.m., employees and volunteers will be combing the areas of East Hartford, Glastonbury, South Windsor and East Windsor looking to reach out to the homeless community and provide them with warm clothing.
The agency is asking for donations of new or gently used coats, sweatshirts, sweatpants, gloves, scarves, socks, boots, thermal underwear etc. to donate to the homeless.
InterCommunity Inc. is an agency that provides mental health and addiction services to individuals, families and communities in the state.
Anyone who would like to donate clothing items should contact Michael Ferreira, community support specialist, at 860-212-9834.


Photo Credit: Ski Shop Knits

3 Bridgeport Police Officers Accused of Brutality


The police chief in Connecticut's largest city has pulled three officers off the streets after a video was posted online showing them kicking and stomping on a man they had already subdued with a stun gun.

Chief Joseph L. Gaudett Jr., learned about the video last week and ordered an internal affairs investigation.

"I'm concerned by what I saw and ordered the Office of Internal Affairs to conduct an immediate, thorough and timely investigation. If violations are found, we will take action," said Chief Gaudett.

In the video, a stun gun is heard being fired and a man falls to the ground at a park. Two officers stand over the motionless man and begin kicking him. A third officer drives up and attacks him. No complaint was filed.

Bridgeport city spokeswoman Elaine Ficarra said Saturday that all three officers are on desk duty while authorities investigate the May 2011 encounter.

Elson Morales, Joseph Lawlor and Clive Higgins are 10-year veterans of the police force. They couldn't be reached for comment.

The video was posted on YouTube this month. It's not clear who's filming or who posted the video.


Copyright Associated Press/NBC Connecticut

Naugatuck Fall Victim Succumbs to Injuries


A 24-year-old Stratford man who fell out of a four-story window last week has died.

Salamon Martinez fell through the window of multifamily house during a fight over a game of beer pong. The incident happened at 8 Pond Street at 2:27 a.m., on January 16th.

Martinez was found on the ground suffering from serious head and body injuries, police said. He was taken to Waterbury Hospital in critical condition at the time.

Family said one side of Martinez's face and all of his ribs were broken.

Paul Butler was playing beer pong at the party and said tensions began to rise. Trash talk grew to shoving and things got out of control.

"I got hit with a bottle and my face swelled up," said Bulter. He says his best friend, Sal Martinez ran to his defense when the unthinkable happened.

Sal crashed through the four-story window, falling to the pavement below. He suffered severe brain damage. Over the last ten days, Martinez fought for his life and succumbed to those injuries Saturday morning.

Martinez's friends remember him as a great father to his 4-year-old daughter and a loyal friend.

"He loved his daughter, he loved everybody. He was just a teddy bear," Butler said.

On January 17th, police arrested Matthew Chandler and Kyle Gonzalez, both 20, in connection with Martinez's injuries. Both men are charged with assault in the first-degree and conspiracy to a second assault at the house.

Chandler and Gonzalez are currently being held on $500,000 bonds. Police have not made any comments yet as to any additional charges.



Photo Credit: Naugatuck Police

NJ Sandy Refugees Scramble for Housing


Roughly a hundred homeless Sandy refugees in New Jersey were left without a place to stay for several hours Saturday as a FEMA housing program appeared to run out on them.

At one point, they were being told to shelter at a church in Brick Township where volunteers were trying to find replacement accommodations for them.

NBC New York has learned that when Governor Christie learned of the situation, he ordered his Department of Community Affairs to work with FEMA to place them in alternate motel rooms.

"We're not going to let people be out on the street," said DCA Commissioner Richard Constable.

At the last minute the night before(on Friday night), a FEMA spokesman said a two week extension to the Transitional Shelter Assistance program had been granted, but that some of the 1500 or so families still sheltering in motels probably would not be notified until Saturday morning, just before they would have been forced to check out.

The hundred or so who ended up losing their motel rooms never got word Saturday morning they could have stayed, according to Constable, and that's when the state jumped in.

Working with FEMA, the families were finally contacted by late Saturday afternoon or early evening, and all were placed in new motel rooms, where they can stay for the next two weeks, which is the duration of the program's extension.

"All families who were displaced were relocated by Saturday night," Constable said.

Body Found in Water at Cove Island Park


A Stamford resident made an upsetting discovery Saturday afternoon.

According to police, the body of a 50-year-old man was found floating in the water at Cove Island Park at around 3 p.m.

Investigators do not suspect the man was victim of a homicide. It appears the man drove to the park and was found with his coat and headphones on, said police.

The medical examiner's office will determine the cause of death. The identity of the man has not been released.


Photo Credit: Getty Images / Scott Olson

Multiple Crews Respond to House Fire in Columbia


Several fire crews responded to the scene of a house fire on Route 6 in Columbia Saturday evening.

Crews were dispatched at 5:39 p.m. 

According to officials, 14 Fire Departments and two paramedic units from surrounding towns assisted the Columbia Fire Department.

Firefighters spent over two hours putting out the blaze and dealt with bitterly cold temperatures, intense flames, and lack of a water source. Tankers rushed from a nearby pond over a mile way.

At least one firefighter was injured after slipping on ice in the driveway of the home. Fire officials said he was taken to Manchester Hospital with minor injuries.

Neighbors say the home was built within the last two years.The homeowners were not inside at the time of the fire.

First responders rescued a litter of German Shepard puppies from the home, including 4 or 5 other dogs.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by local fire departments and the State Police Fire Marshal.

Former WWE Diva Arrested for 6th Time


Tamara Sytch, a former WWE diva known as Sunny, was arrested in Branford over the weekend.

According to her attorney, Robert Serafinowicz, Sytch was arrested for violating a court order after she was allegedly found at her ex-boyfriend's Branford home.

The 39-year-old of Staten Island, New York, was previously arrested on similar charges 5 times since September of 2012 and was released from custody to attend a rehab program.

Sytch is now being held on $100,000 bond and will be arraigned at New Haven Superior Court on Monday.





Fire Sends Two To The Hospital



A house fire in Granby took firefighters hours to knock down this morning.


Firefighters responded to 282 North Granby Road just before 6 a.m. this morning. When they arrived, they discovered heavy smoke billowing out of the home.

Three people were in the home at the time, including Kristin Moreau who was staying with friends.
"It was probably about quarter of six this morning. I woke and it just like smelled like smoke and it was a like a burning plastic," said Moreau. "I couldn't see anything. By the time I got to the front door I couldn't even breathe. I mean that's how bad it was"
Two residents who were also inside the home at the time of the fire had to be treated for smoke inhalation.They were transported to St. Francis Hospital.
While the fire is still under investigation, fire officials believe a wood stove could be the cause. Lost Acres Assistant Fire Chief Dave Sprafke said the cold temperatures contributed to the long duration of the fire.
"The below-freezing temperatures have complicated how the firefighters use water to fight the fire," said Sprafke. "They've had to use it sparingly to avoid adding to an already dangerous situation."



Putnam Middle School on High Alert After Bomb Threats


A bomb threat at a local school has one community on edge.

Parents of Putnam Middle School students were notified Friday that police will be inspecting student's belongings as they arrive to school Monday morning .

Police said they discovered four different hand written threats with one saying a gun would be brought to the school. 

According to investigators, the notes were received between the dates of January 4th and January 25th.

Three juveniles have since been arrested.  One case, out of the four, is still pending, said police.

Anyone with information regarding these incidents is urged to contact the Putnam Police Department at 860-928-6565.

SWAT Team Called to Glastonbury Home


Local police and a SWAT team were called to a home on Knollwood Drive Sunday afternoon.

Officials staged in front of  the residence near Shady Hill Lane. The road was closed for several hours.

A resident in the area said police were in full combat gear and surrounded the nearby woods.

Authorities said residents are safe and the incident was a precautionary response after a woman made a call saying she was "being threatened".  When police arrived, she was gone.

"I can say to the residents in the neighborhood that everything is okay. The area is secure. We are just trying to locate a woman at this time. It's really just more of a well being check at this point to make sure everything is okay," said James Kennedy from the Glastonbury Police Dept.

Check back for updates.


Wintry Mix Expected Monday


A period of snow, sleet, and freezing rain is expected Monday afternoon and evening across all of Connecticut.

Snow will overspread the state between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. It will be mainly light and accumulations will be minor. A coating to an inch of snow will stick across central and southern Connecticut with as much as 1 to 2 inches of snow along the Massachusetts border.

Snow will change to a mix of sleet and freezing rain during the afternoon in southwestern Connecticut and by dark in northeastern Connecticut. A glaze of ice will make travel on any untreated surfaces difficult.

Temperatures will slowly warm above freezing by dark along the coast but the mercury will stay below 32 degrees inland. There will not be enough ice to weigh down trees or power lines but it will be enough to make roads slippery for the evening commute. 

The recent shot of cold weather has chilled surfaces such as roads, sidewalks, railings, and parking lots making any untreated surface vulnerable to icing from even a small amount of freezing rain.

The freezing rain will taper off by midnight and temperatures will slowly warm. 

See the full forecast here.

Check the interactive radar here.

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