SHELTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Firefighters from several towns spent the early morning hours knocking out a fire at the Latex Foam International factory in Shelton. Four firefighters were injured.
Latex International in Shelton is no stranger to being damaged by fire. It’s happened not once, not twice, but three times over the course of the company’s history. The most recent was early Thursday morning at the factory on River Road.
“Flames 50 ft into sky,” Louis Nistico told News 8 in a Report It email.
“Sirens were heard around 1:08 a.m.,” Tarasa Ribas said.
Officials say the fire started in the basement. The culprit: an industrial dryer.
“It’s approximately 20 feet by 200 feet,” said Chief Francis Jones, Shelton Fire Department. “This dryer is part of the manufacturing process of the latex mattresses and pillow line they have.”
Chief Jones says the fire then spread into the buildings ventilation system. “So we had fire in the basement, on the first floor, in the duct system up into the roof area.”
At one point fire crews had to get out of the building because of falling debris. Throughout the morning, parts of the ventilation system had to be dismantled to put out any remaining hot spots. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and hazardous materials crews were also called in to help with the clean up.
This is not the first time the company has faced a fire. The company fell victim to arson back in 1975, when it was located in a different location in Shelton.
Then in 2001, its Ansonia factory was destroyed by fire. And earlier this month, the company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
News 8 tried talking with employees today, but none of them wanted to go on camera. As for when they will go back to work, “it’s going to be shut down for a while,” Jones said.
“There’s extensive smoke damage. Their manufacturing process in the basement is damaged, there’s about three feet of water in the basement that has to be removed.
One firefighter suffered a broken arm. Three others were treated for heat exhaustion.
In a statement, President and CEO David Fisher said he regreted that firefighters were injured, and he appreciated the quick response to the fire.
“At this stage the company is working on ways of minimizing any disruption of service to its customers,” Fisher said. “Our top priority is restoring manufacturing capability to cause the least disruption to our customers.”
Firefighters from several nearby towns assisted Shelton crews in fighting the fire.
River Road / Route 110 in the immediate area was closed for a few hours, but is now back open..