Stubborn Waterbury factory fire burns through Friday - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Stubborn Waterbury factory fire burns through Friday

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(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)
(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)
(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)

A fire at a factory building in Waterbury continued to burn throughout the day on Friday.

Crews at the old Bristol Babcock Factory have been working to get it under control since Thursday night.

Eyewitness News obtained a bird's eye view of the fire from an iWitness. The flames could bee seen shooting from all sides of the building.

"It just went up like a big, I can't even explain it to you," said Carla Wiltshire, a neighbor. "[It was] like an explosion and [we] started to hear the building fall."

They said the problem is that the property is 500,000 acres large and the fire is burning in the middle of it. It's been difficult for firefighters to reach.

"It started to spread in a matter of minutes," Wiltshire said. "It was scary."

The building, which has been abandoned for between 20 and 25 years, is located near the Naugatuck River on Bristol Street. The Bristol Babcock Factory used to make audio speakers. Firefighters said the building is made of heavy timber construction.

Wiltshire said she called 911 as soon as she saw the fire's glow around 9:30 p.m. on Thursday. She said she could see flames through the trees and eventually, above them.

"[For] my house [and] the people that live down the street, it was  it was an ordeal last night, it really was," she said.

Wiltshire said it was an emotional night and she's just grateful that her home is ok. She said her grandfather worked at the old company.

The fire chief said parts of the building collapsed, so it was too dangerous to send in firefighters. They were attacking it from the outside and said they made good progress. As of Friday afternoon, Martin said the fire was 90 percent contained.

"We do expect to be here for a good period of time throughout the day given the fire is in voids and we're not putting anyone in there so it's just an exterior attack," said Chief David Martin, Waterbury Fire Department.

Dispatchers told Eyewitness News that six companies were working to get the flames under control.

Martin said the biggest issue overnight and into the morning was the building accessibility.

"Because they've been abandoned for so long and exposed to the elements in most cases, you'll have a collapse in some part of the building already and the fire exacerbates some of those safety issues," Martin said.

martin said that they’ve had some instances in the past of people illegally staying in the building. They have yet to find anyone inside in this case. No injuries have been reported.

He also said they’ve had some small fires at this location in the past, but nothing like this.

The fire marshal will work on determining the cause of the fire once the flames are extinguished.

This was not the first factory fire Waterbury firefighters have had to battle. Three years ago, they fought a stubborn blaze at the Nova Dye factory. The city told Eyewitness News that clean up after these fires is no easy or cheap task.

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