Updated, 1:24 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21:
A house on Bridgeport’s East Side was heavily damaged in a fire late Friday night, forcing a dozen people from their home and damaging hundreds of dollars in presents less than a week before Christmas.
Bridgeport police officers spotted the fire at 803 Noble Avenue while on patrol in the area and immediately called for help. As fire crews hurried to the scene, officers rushed into the burning building to pull out occupants on the second floor, who were not immediately aware that the first floor was on fire.
Witnesses gathered across the street said the smoke and flames could be seen all the way from East Main Street.
No one was seriously injured in the blaze, although one police officer was taken to a local hospital with smoke inhalation. Firefighters knocked down most of the flames within 25 minutes, but they were on scene investigating and checking for hot spots for at least an hour afterward.
Ed Beardsley lived in the multi-family house with his wife and four children. As he surveyed his damaged house in disbelief, he said firefighters were able to salvage some presents, but that many of his children’s toys melted.
“I guess there won’t be Christmas this year,” he said, his eyes welling with tears. “I’m holding it in, but I don’t know for how long.”
Beardsley and his family were among the 12 people receiving help from the American Red Cross after the fire.
A structure fire has been reported at a home on Noble Avenue, fire crews are en route.
There are reports on the scene that a couple of people might be in the building.
Several fire trucks and police units are on the way to the scene, which is near Noble Avenue and Stillman Street. Drivers should avoid the area.