A massive fire destroyed a vacant factory in Waterbury on New Year's Eve, and investigators are working to uncover what sparked the flames.
Emergency crews were called to the intersection of South Main Street and Pearl Lake Road around 8:45 p.m. on Saturday.
A police officer had been patrolling the area and spotted the fire.
As crews began attacking the fire, a series of loud explosions shook the surrounding area.
The factory, which was built in the early 1900’s, also used to be home to two different rental companies, but it has been vacant for years.
It was placed in foreclosure and was acquired by the city in 2015.
Fire Chief David Martin said it has been a popular dumping site for years, and it’s unclear if whatever was inside caused those explosions.
"You could feel the earth shake a little bit,” Martin said.
Firefighters had to focus on keeping the flames from spreading to the surrounding buildings.
A nearby home was evacuated as a precaution, but was spared by the flames.
The intense heat shattered the windows of a neighboring business.
"When you have a building that's in this kind of condition, we're not going to risk anyone going in. and so it's very hard to get to spots that are still burning,” Martin said.
For a man who owns a garage right across the street, he said seeing the damage in person on Sunday morning was surreal.
"Since I [have] the surveillance video inside and outside, I looked. I saw everything. Friends were calling left and right,” said Rolando Larriuz.
A contractor will be brought in to knock down what’s left of the building before it collapses any further.
Waterbury firefighters are rotating through three-hour shifts until the fire is completely out.
Right now, fire officials believe the circumstances leading up this incident are suspicious.
Firefighters are expected to be here at the site over the next few days.
In the meantime, the fire marshal is investigating, to find out what sparked this fire.
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