Shelton fire under investigation - CBS 5 - KPHO

Shelton fire under investigation

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Photo Courtesy of Shelton Fire Department Photo Courtesy of Shelton Fire Department
SHELTON, CT (WFSB) -

A massive fire that broke out at an abandoned Shelton building is under investigation by the fire marshal.

The fire broke out at the vacant building on Canal Street around 1 a.m., and when fire crews arrived, they said heavy smoke and flames were coming from the building.

"That was Apex Tool," said Shelton resident Michael Dokla. "They used to make tools for the military, railroad and any other kind of tool. It's been abandoned a good 15 to 20 years now."

Shelton officials said the blaze started at the abandoned building and then quickly spread to an adjacent business. Onlookers said they were surprised to see Canal Street lit up and all the red lights along the railroad tracks.

"I hope they didn't get too much damage," Dokla said.

Since the fire was so large, crews had to fight the fire from above rather than risking their lives to fight it from the inside.

"We had to cut open the roof in the still-working factory in order to extinguish the fire in that building," said Shelton Fire Marshal James Tortora.

Shelton's fire marshal said the blaze is under investigation.

That business, Better Packages, makes water-activated tape dispensers and sealing systems that are used by several major corporations and has been in business since 1917, according to the company's website.

"There's quite a bit of water damage and smoke damage as you can imagine," said owner Philip White. "Pure structural damage other than where the firemen had to cut into the roof in a number of areas."

He said he doesn't know the official cause of the fire but thinks squatters are to blame.

"You know, you report it [the squatters] and police come down. Everybody's responsive, but there's a problem and unfortunately they scatter and come back in a half-hour," White said.

Fire officials said one firefighter was being treated for an injury after slipping and falling on an icy surface, but no other injuries have been reported as a result of the fire.

Fire crews from surrounding towns were called in to assist the Shelton Fire Department in extinguishing the fire.

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