A fast-moving fire destroyed most of a community cornerstone and a well known furniture store in Ellington.
The fire broke at Kloter Farms on the corner of Route 83 and Main Street just before 7 a.m.
A big column of black smoke along with a bright orange glow was seen rising into the sky as furniture burned inside.
The sales manager of Kloter Farms was inside the building on the upper level of the home furniture store when the three-alarm blaze broke out.
"She said she heard a bang, which I have to expect was an explosion," said Todd Root, of Kloter Farms.
Root said the employee was able to escape, but the family-owned business was quickly engulfed in flames.
According to Dep. Fire Chief John Turner, there were no sprinklers inside the building.
Dan Keune, who works next door, said he's watched this furniture store expand over the last 30 years, adding it's hard not to feel bad for the company, its employees and families whose lives changed in an instant, their livelihoods up in smoke.
"They are part of the fabric of this town. In fact, there are people that know where Kloter Farms is, don't even know they're in Ellington. Kloter Farms is something significant," Keune said.
The burning hardwood furniture inside the showroom contributed to the heavy fire, causing the roof to eventually collapse.
That forced firefighters from five different departments to work in shifts, attacking the fire from the outside, while using two ladder trucks to spray water from above.
"This is obviously devastating, but we're handling it really well. Frankly we're OK. We had no injuries, it's our furniture and we can rebuild that," Root said.
The company is fully insured and Root said they plan to rebuild.
Officials said the losses could be millions of dollars.
The cause of the fire is being investigated, but the fire marshal's office said the fire is believed to be accidental and no suspicious activity was suspected.