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Couple, Adult Child Killed in West Haven Condo Fire


A couple and their adult child have died after an early morning fire at Mallard Brook Crossing condos in West Haven.

The fire broke out in unit 214 at 89 Coleman Street around 4 a.m., police said.

Neighbors said they tried desperately to get to the victims, but the flames were too intense and the smoke was too heavy.

When firefighters arrived, neighbors were pointing in the direction of where they thought the smoke was coming from, said Chief James O'Brien, of the West Haven Fire Department.

Firefighters found one female victim near the door. Two other people found in the home suffered severe smoke inhalation, officials said.

One person was pronounced dead at the scene and two died at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Neighbors said the victims were a couple and their adult daughter.

"I don't recall us having a triple fatal, this many at one time, so it's emotional for the families, the residents and certainly for our fire fighters," O'Brien said.

Kimberly Mathis said she just visited her close friends this past weekend.

"They were good people, good people. So I don't know. It hasn't sunk in for me yet," she said.

The cause of the fire is being investigated. It appears to have started in the living room area. Neighbors said the couple smoked and had mobility problems.

The condo was equipped with smoke detectors, but it's not clear whether they were working, officials said. Neighbors said they did not hear fire alarms go off.

Authorities have not identified the victims.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Family to Keep Hostage-Taking Cat


An Oregon family says they're not ready to give up on their pet cat, even after it attacked their baby and forced the family to take cover in a bedroom.

The 4-year-old cat, a 22-pound part-Himalayan named Lux, might look harmless, but its owners say it has a "history" of violent behavior.

Emergency dispatchers in Portland sent officers to contain the cat after receiving the family’s frantic 911 call.

CALLER: "He's charging us. He’s at our door, our bedroom door."

DISPATCHER: "One moment, okay?

CALLER: "Do you hear him? That was the cat."

DISPATCHER: "Yeah, I hear him. Keep the door shut, okay?"

When police got there, the family was too afraid to come out of the bedroom to let them in.

Officers eventually got inside and were able to snare Lux and put him behind bars -- in a crate.

The family says that even though Lux is just a cat, they were genuinely scared.

"He started hissing and -- just rarrrr, like yowls, not like a meow, but yowls,” said Teresa Barker, the cat’s co-owner. “He was really like crazy."

Lee Palmer, Barker's boyfriend and Lux's co-owner, says the animal attacked after their 7-month-old child pulled its tail. The baby was not seriously hurt.

Palmer says he's taking the feline to a veterinarian. A pet psychologist also is due at the house.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

$10M Metro-North Power Upgrades Completed


A $10 million upgrade to power supply

for Metro-North's New Haven Line has been completed, bringing full back-up power to both east- and westbound rails between Westport and Harrison, N.Y.

Gov. Dannel Malloy and the state Department of Transportation announced the project’s completion in a news release issued Tuesday.

The project, done in conjunction with Connecticut Light & Power, was launched early February. It included the replacement of four transformers at the Cos Cob station in Greenwich, doubling the capacity of two transformers on the westbound side. Supply feeder cables were also upgraded, according to the release.

It comes in the wake of a feeder cable failure in September that led to days of canceled trains and heavy delays.

“This project was designed to prevent the type of catastrophic power failure that occurred last fall in Mount Vernon, New York, seriously disrupting New Haven Line service,” said Malloy, in a statement. “In addition, it will allow us to add more service on the New Haven Line as we move forward.”

The final phase of the project was completed over the weekend and put into service March 9, according to the release.

Lizard Head in NYC Restaurant Salad


A woman says she found the head of what appeared to be a small reptile in her salad when she ordered lunch from a restaurant food chain in Manhattan Tuesday.

Robin Sandusky, a theatrical coordinator, said she ordered a kale salad from a Guy & Gallard store in Chelsea for delivery to her workplace. She began eating the salad when she spotted what she thought was a pea.

"I turned it over, and I could see its eye," she told NBC 4 New York. 

Sandusky called the store and asked for a refund. She said she declined the store's offer for a replacement salad.

The delivery worker retrieved the salad and refunded Sandusky, the store manager at the Seventh Avenue location confirmed.

The manager, who only gave his last name as Alan, said he apologized but couldn't confirm that a dead animal part was in the food. 

"She told me, but I didn't check it," said Alan. "When the salad came back, I wasn't here."

He said he told Sandusky, "I'm really so sorry. If you need something -- she said, 'No, we are fine, just a refund.'"

Jason Jeffries, a managing partner at Guy and Gallard, said it's the company's policy to issue a refund when a customer requests one. 

"We didn't see any proof of that," he said of Sandusky's allegation of the reptile found in the salad, but added that if a customer has any complaint, "we'll happily issue a refund." 

"We have an upstanding reputation in the neighborhood, and all of our stores have excellent health grades," he said.

Jeffries said the company will investigate Sandusky's allegation. 

Last December, a customer found a dead frog in her salad from another sandwich chain in midtown.

Photo Credit: Robin Sandusky/NBC 4 New York

Weather Warms for Once


With the thermometer above the door of Eli Cannon's displaying 60 degrees just after noon, the father and daughter from Nebraska walked up Main Street in Middletown, checking out the town and Wesleyan University on a college admission office's perfect day.

"It's really nice to come here," said Rachel Merliss. "It's definitely a change because in Nebraska it's been really bad also, so we feel your pain."

A couple from Rhode Island brought their three kids out of their car, without heavy coats, hats, or gloves.

"Winter's been awful, lot of snow, stuck inside the house," said Shann Gooding.

Jogging across the street to make the light was Bonnie Tasoulas, who was excited about the warmth.

"I love winter too," she said. "But this weather?  Look at my cheeks shining!"

Down by the Connecticut a man and his grandson were doing their part to get rid of the snow, throwing it into the water. Dave Griffin came along with his dog, Sadie.

"I can take my dog for a walk without getting cold, without getting wet," he said.

He figured spring would eventually come, though he knew this was a one-day event.

"This is not warm enough," said Antonio Farias.  "Warm enough would be 75 degrees and consistent, and all the snow off my lawn. That would be pretty warm."

Motorcycle Crash Closes Route 1 in Clinton


Route 1/East Main Street is closed near Marine Avenue in Clinton following a motorcycle accident, according to police.

It's not clear how long the road will remain closed or how serious the injuries might be.

LifeStar was called to the scene but canceled.

No additional information was immediately available. 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Body Wash, Baby Formula Stolen From CVS in Windsor


Police are searching for the men who stole body was and baby formula from a CVS pharmacy in Windsor.

According to police, two men walked into the CVS at 219 Broad Street in Windsor on Sunday, took Dove body wash and Enfamil baby formula and left.

The suspects are described as being two black men in their late 40s or early 50s. Police said they were seen entering the store when similar items were stolen Feb. 16.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Windsor Police Officer Devin at 860-688-5273 ext. 103.

Photo Credit: Windsor Police Department

Catholic School Teacher Accused of Sexually Assaulting Student


A Catholic school teacher is charged with sexual assault after he reportedly had inappropriate contact with a student under the age of 16, according to police.

Michael Maida, 44, of Well Avenue in Danbury, turned himself in Tuesday. An arrest warrant was issued March 3, charging him with second-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor.

Police said Maida had inappropriate sexual contact with one of his students at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, a Catholic school in Greenwich. The all-girls school includes grades K-12.

School officials said in a statement that they learned of the police investigation Jan. 23 and that the alleged incident occurred in the fall of 2009.

The school contacted the Department of Children and Families and placed Maida on administrative leave, according to the statement.

"Mr. Maida has been a teacher with us for 17 years and has unequivocally denied that the alleged incident, of which we had no prior knowledge, occurred," the statement reads. "We take all allegations of misconduct seriously and are continually focused on upholding a safe and welcoming environment for our students. We have been cooperating fully with the authorities and out of respect for all involved and the important legal process under way, we will not be commenting further."

Maida was released after posting $50,000 bond and is due in court March 18.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Flickr RF

250 Amtrak Passengers Stranded on Tracks for Hours


More than 250 Amtrak passengers were stranded on the tracks for hours with no power or bathroom access after their train lost power and got stuck between Greenwich and New Rochelle, according to the railroad.

Railroad officials said a mechanical problem stalled the train around 2:35 p.m. and left passengers with no bathroom or electrical services for nearly four hours.

According to the railroad, Train 173 on the Northeast Regional line was traveling from Boston to Penn Station in New York City when a mechanical problem halted it near Greenwich.

A rescue train arrived around 6 p.m., but that train became disabled too. About an hour later, Train 173 was towed back to Stamford, where passengers transferred to another train and continued on to New York City.

Train 175 was scheduled to arrive at Penn Station around 8:10 p.m., according to the Amtrak website.

One woman on board said the train traveled onto a part of the tracks with no electricity and stalled there. Another train was brought in to push it forward, but the effort was unsuccessful.

Train 173 departed Back Bay around 11:15 a.m. and was due to arrive in New York by 3:15 p.m., according to a schedule posted on the Amtrak website.

The train status has since been modified and no longer includes an estimated arrival time. Instead, it reads, "Information Unavailable: Sorry, due to a service disruption, we are unable to provide estimated departure and arrival times."

No one has been injured. Officials are investigating.

4-Year-Old Boy Found Wandering in Hartford


A 4-year-old child wandered away from his home on Chatham Street and sparked a police investigation Tuesday evening as officers worked to track down his family and bring him home.

Police said a Good Samaritan found the boy on Chatham Street around 5:30 p.m. and brought the child to the police station when she was unable to find his parents.

Authorities said the child was healthy and unharmed, but couldn’t tell police his basic information.

Officers went door-to-door on Chatham Street and set up a traffic checkpoint in an effort to find the child’s parents. Meanwhile, the child was taken to Hartford police headquarters.

The boy’s mother approached an officer in the neighborhood around 7:30 p.m. and said her child had been playing in the yard with his siblings and cousins when he wandered off. The older children thought he had gone back inside the house.

Police said the family noticed he was missing when they sat down to dinner around 7:15 p.m.

The child was returned to his mother after the Hartford Police Special Investigations Division completed its investigation.

Hartford Police Investigate Shooting, Stabbing


Hartford police are investigating a shooting and stabbing that are believed to be unrelated but happened within minutes of one another.

Police said both incidents occurred around 8:20 p.m. Tuesday.

The victims were both young men. One was shot in the back on Mather Street and is in stable in condition in the hospital.

The other was stabbed in the head in the area of 45 Barbour Street. Police said the victim ran to Martin Street before being discovered by police.

Police said both men are expected to survive.

The victims have not been identified.

No arrests have been made.

6-Alarm Blaze in San Francisco


 A massive, multiple-alarm fire at Fourth and China Basin streets in San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood burned for hours Tuesday, sending a plume of black smoke high into the sky.

The blaze, which burned at an apartment building under construction just south of AT&T Park, was reported at 4:56 p.m.

As daylight waned, the flames calmed and the smoke turned from black to white. San Francisco police spokesman Sgt. Eric O'Neal said in a statement that all residents on the east side of Fourth Street had been evacuated and that the Red Cross was on the scene.

About 150 firefighters responded to the blaze and prevented the fire from spreading to nearby buildings. Teams were expected to remain there throughout the night.

A firefighter suffered minor burns battling the blaze and was transported to a hospital, officials said.

San Francisco Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White also said crews would let the building collapse upon itself.

The cause of the blaze was not immediately clear.

The fire torched what was due to become a 172-unit apartment complex. The site is owned by the San Francisco-based BRE Properties.

The company late Tuesday said a cause of the fire is unknown and that all associates and contractors were safely evacuated from the construction site.

"We are currently assessing the situation, including the cause of the fire, and we will be consulting with the appropriate authorities,'' the company said. "We carry comprehensive insurance coverage for events such as this including hard cost replacement, soft costs and loss of revenue.''

San Francisco Fire Department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said the fact that building was under construction made battling the blaze more difficult because the building's fire suppression systems had not been completely installed.

Workers were in the process of installing sprinklers, but none were working yet, according to public records.

Strong northerly winds gusting up to 30 mph were blowing smoke from the fire south toward Potrero Hill and the Dogpatch neighborhoods, according to NBC Bay Area meteorologist Jeff Ranieri.

Witnesses near the scene told NBC Bay Area's Stephen Stock they were concerned about the fire spreading to occupied buildings.

"I'm looking at a pretty bad fire here,” the witness said. “You can feel it."

Firefighters on the scene confirmed that burning embers from the fire spread to the roof of the nearby Smith Cardiovascular Research Center at UCSF, but crews were able to quickly extinguish those flames.

San Francisco-resident Janice Jentz was on her way home from work when she saw large clouds of smoke hovering over her building.

"(I) started running home and tried to make sure he was rescued and he was OK," Jentz said of her dog, who firefighters were able to rescue. "I'm happy they pulled through and helped me out."

The Mission Bay site is 3.7 acres on two parcels and represents BRE’s only property in the Mission Bay neighborhood of San Francisco.

BRE reportedly expected the cost of the development to be around $227 million, or $630,000 per unit.

The Mission Bay project is one of five the company has under construction in California and Washington. There are two other projects underway in the Bay Area, one in Sunnyvale and one in Redwood City.

Suffolk Construction is the contractor working on the building. The company had "no comment" when contacted by NBC Bay Area.

View aerial footage of the fire crews battling the blaze late Tuesday in the video below. The video was submitted by an NBC Bay Area viewer and was filmed using a quadcopter drone.

The Associated Press and Bay City News contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

Dolphins Trade Martin to 49ers


The Miami Dolphins announced Tuesday night that they have traded Jonathan Martin – the player at the center of a bullying scandal that drew national attention – to the San Francisco 49ers for an undisclosed draft choice.

Martin suffered "significant emotional distress" at the hands of three of his Dolphins teammates, including fellow offensive lineman Richie Incognito, according to independent NFL investigator Ted Wells.

“We feel that this move is in the best interests of all parties involved. We wish Jonathan well,” new Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey said on Twitter.

The offensive tackle responded to the trade by saying he was "Beyond Blessed." He also tweeted the below messages:

The trade brings Martin back together with his former coach at Stanford, Jim Harbaugh.

Martin abruptly left the team in October as the Dolphins' bullying saga began to unfold.

Incognito and two other starters on Miami’s offensive line, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey, “engaged in a pattern of harassment directed at not only Jonathan Martin, but also another young Dolphins offensive lineman and an assistant trainer," Wells said as his final report was released last month.

Incognito was suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team on Nov. 3.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/File

Suit Alleges Rape at Wesleyan Fraternity Party


A Wesleyan University student who says she was raped during a fraternity house party has filed a federal lawsuit against the organization, the alleged perpetrator and 11 other fraternity members.

The lawsuit says the student, a freshman, was raped in the common room of the Psi Upsilon fraternity house at 242 High Street while surrounded by other students during a wild house party last May.

According to the lawsuit, the female student went to Middlesex Hospital after the party. She was evaluated with a rape kit that confirmed she had been sexually assaulted.

The suit holds both the national fraternity and local organization accountable.

"Despite demanding self-governance, the Fraternity Defendants fail to adequately and reasonably train themselves and abide by such responsibilities, particularly with respect to safety/risk management issues involving fraternity events, events inside the fraternity house, security, sexual abuse prevention, hazing, and the use and misuse of alcohol," the suit reads.

Psi Upsilon Fraternity Executive Director Tom Fox said the national organization was notified of the lawsuit on Wednesday.

“Psi Upsilon Fraternity takes all reports of risk management violations, especially those with regard to sexual assault, very seriously,” said Fox, in a statement. “We are currently investigating the incident and gathering further information.”

Fox added that all members of the organization are required to complete an online program encompassing alcohol, hazing and sexual assault education.

Wesleyan University has not been named in this lawsuit and the alleged assailant was expelled after disciplinary proceedings.

Wesleyan University President Michael S. Roth provided The Hartford Courant with a written statement that says there have been sanctions against the university.

"On behalf of the university community, I want to express our horror at this shameful assault," said Roth said in the statement. "Sexual violence on college campuses is a national problem, and it's important to raise awareness about this issue."

The female student has taken a leave of absence from the university and is seeking to $1 million in damages for medical and psychological treatment, according to the lawsuit.

Man Tried to Burn Down Family Home to Stop Sale: Cops


Stratford police have arrested a Stamford man who is accused of trying to burn down his family's home to keep them from selling it.

Police arrested Jason Raveis, 38, of Selleck Street in Stamford, on Tuesday.

On Aug. 8, 2012, Raveis' sister called police to report that her brother called her and threatened to burn down their home on Unity Drive, according to police.

She told authorities that James had become upset when they put the house on the market and threatened to burn it down before it could be sold.

When police arrived at the house, they could smell gasoline and it appeared that Raveis had fled as officers arrived, police said.

The gasoline had been poured around the house and inside the kitchen and the garage, according to police.

Raveis was charged with attempted first-degree arson, threatening, breach of peace and reckless endangerment in the first degree.

He was released after posting a $50,000 bond. He is due in court on March 18, according to the court docket.

Photo Credit: Stratford Police

East Windsor Parents Express Concerns About Heroin Use


A public health crisis is what some say is taking place in East Windsor after a 14-year-old student died of a heroin overdose.

"It's a growing epidemic among kids younger and younger, kids and more and more serious drugs," said Dr. Tim Kearney, Chief Behavioral Health Officer for the Community Health Center.

That frightening fact hit East Windsor hard. In response, the school district and Community Health Center organized a meeting to combat the problem.

"It happens everywhere, which is unfortunate, and it just happened to be in our small community," Donna Gendreau, a parent, said.

Last month, a 14-year-old girl died of a heroin overdose and the revelation that four other students had been caught taking Xanax left many wondering how much worse it would get.

"It was someone [my daughter] had known, so it was tough. It was tough to hear. There was sadness in our family," said Gendreau.

Gendreau's daughter, Rachel, attends East Windsor Middle School and said there is a drug problem, but that the school's trying to get rid of it.

"How the community came together was really nice to see, just everybody talking about it and not just saying, 'OK, let's not talk about it,'" Rachel said.

According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, heroin fatalities have jumped in the state from 174 in 2012 to 257 in 2013, and East Windsor Police said they've noticed an increase in their own town.

Communication between a parent and child is key, according to experts, and students need to know professionals are there to help.

"I'd much rather have [a student] in my office later on saying, 'My friends are really mad at me because I broke their confidence,' than have [a student] sitting here crying, saying, 'I didn't tell anybody and now my friend is dead.' And I think the children just have to break that code of silence and reach out for help," Kearney said.

Sandusky's Wife: Victims Saw Money


The wife of convicted child sex abuser Jerry Sandusky broke her silence for the first time since the former Penn State assistant football coach was sent to jail, saying the case against her husband was based on lies and his accusers motivated by money.

“Do I believe him? I definitely believe him. Because if I didn't believe him, when I testified at trial, I could have not said what I said. I would have had to tell the truth," Dottie Sandusky said in an exclusive interview with NBC’s “Today” show from her home in State College, Pa.

“I think it was, they were manipulated, and they saw money,’’ she told NBC's Matt Lauer. “Once lawyers came into the case, they said there was money.”

Jerry Sandusky, 70, was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison after being convicted in June 2012 on 45 of 48 charges of sexually abusing young boys over a 15-year period.

When asked if her husband of 47 years was guilty of inappropriate behavior with some of the young boys who have accused him, Sandusky said, “I don't believe that, I believe he showered with kids. That’s the generation that Jerry grew up in ....There were always people coming in and out no matter what time that was.”

Sandusky was joined during the interview by filmmaker John Ziegler, who researched the case for two years and has interviewed Jerry Sandusky twice in prison. He believes Jerry Sandusky is innocent.

“I presumed, like a lot of people, that Dottie has to be delusional or not understand the case,’’ Ziegler said. “I'm certain of one thing above everything else after two years of investigating this case, and that is that Dottie Sandusky is not delusional. She knows the case better than the vast majority of media members, and she is positive that Jerry Sandusky is innocent.”

During the interview, Sandusky took Matt Lauer to her basement where the accusers said some of the abuse occurred.

"It is not a dungeon," she said. "It is not what those kids said. You can scream, and you can hear it up to the second floor.”

Lauer pointed out that the house is quite small and that one of the victims said he screamed in the basement while he was sexually abused and that Dottie never came down to check what was going on. Dottie said she never heard anyone “because he didn’t scream.”

Lauer also asked about an article in The Washington Post in which Melinda Henneberger wrote, "We know that predators prey on the more vulnerable, who they can later paint as unstable; that’s standard. But they also tend to choose spouses who can be counted on to suppress any unpleasant ideas that might occur to them."

"I'm not a weak spouse,'' said Sandusky, who visits her husband once a week at a maximum security prison in Waynesburg, Penn., a three-hour drive from her home. "As you know...they call me 'Sarge' because Jerry said I kept everybody in line. If they want to say that, let them say that. I know who I am. And I know who Jerry is. And I know he did not do the horrible crimes that he's convicted of.”

Lauer pointed out to Ziegler and Sandusky that it may be hard for the public to believe that everyone in the case has been manipulated or is lying.

“Look, the reality is, I understand exactly what you're saying,’’ Ziegler said. “People will think that this is insane because they were given a perception of this case that was totally wrong.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Teens Accused of Torturing Boy


Two teenage girls are behind bars following allegations they tortured a boy with "a diminished mental capacity."

The St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office said 17-year-old Lauren Bush and a 15-year-old girl recorded the assaults against the 16-year-old victim on their cell phones. The teens allegedly stabbed the victim, dragged him by his hair and forced him to perform various sex acts.

Investigators said the suspects also coerced the teen to walk on a partially frozen pond, which resulted in him falling through the ice several times. Each time, police said, the suspects refused to help the boy out of the frigid water.

Both girls have been charged with two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault, soliciting the subject in the production of child pornography, and false imprisonment.

Bush was charged as an adult. She is being held at the St. Mary's County Detention Center. The other teen is being detained at the Waxter's Children's Center.

The St. Mary's County public defender's office had no comment on the case at this time.

WATCH: High-Speed Chase in Colorado


WATCH: High-Speed Chase in Colorado

NYC Buildings Collapse: Photos


Check out photos and reaction from the scene of the deadly building collapses in Manhattan.

Two people are dead, 18 are hurt and others are missing after two buildings collapsed following a gas leak explosion that rattled upper Manhattan and shattered windows with a blast that could be felt blocks away, officials said.


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