Stratford house fire displaces 3 families

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STRATFORD -

An overnight house fire in Stratford displaced three families and left four firefighters with minor injuries at the end of Memorial Day weekend, authorities say.

Fire officials say they believe a charcoal grill may be to blame. One of the families was using it a few hours before the fire tore through the Canaan Road home.

Officials say it may have been left too close to the side of the house. They say grill users should make sure to keep them at least 10 feet away from anything that could catch fire.

Firefighters arrived 15 minutes after midnight and found the house fully engulfed in flames. It took them about 2 1/2 hours to put them out.

Lynden Mendenhall says he and his wife were about to go to sleep when he saw flames out the window.

"A cloud of black smoke rushed into the apartment, setting off our fire alarms," he says. "I just yelled at my wife to get out."

The couple warned their housemates and ran outside. In all, six residents of the home and a pet cat escaped safely.

"We lost everything we worked for, but as long as my wife's still alive, and nobody else got hurt, I'll move on," Mendenhall says.

The injured firefighters are all expected to be OK.

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