BERLIN, CONN. (WTNH)– Berlin fire crews battled a massive fire at the historic old Amtrak building on Depot road before 4 a.m. Wednesday.
James Ostroski said, “I looked out my kitchen window and all I could see was a high ball of flames shooting way up in the sky.”
Berlin fire chief Mark Lewandowski added, “We set up a defensive operation two aerial streams and worked on extinguishing the fire.”
Firefighters used 1500 gallons of water a minute over the course of four hours to battle the flames.
“We had four of our company’s in town respond which is Kensington, Berlin, East Berlin and South Berlin and south Kensington so with initial people on scene we had 50 people,” added Lewandowski.
Piles of wood fueled the flames and that’s not the only thing that made this difficult for firefighters. Lewandowski said, “The buildings an older building so they were doing asbestos abatement in there so that’s been stored on site.” And then there’s the weather. The bone-chilling temperatures plus actor in the wind chill and it felt much colder. Lewandowski added, “Battling the cold has to do with how fatigued we get — how quickly we get fatigued. So you want to make sure you have extra people in place.”
The station was originally built in 1900. It was closed in March and was in the process of being restored. The brick facade is all that is left. Lewandowski said, “Pretty much anything that was in wood was destroyed by the fire.”
Residents say there was a historical significance to it. Ostroski said, “I’ve been in it multiple times taking the train It’s got the old historical features. the wood looked like it was ancient wood. It was really nice.” The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Photo credit: Gabrielle Sobilo and Allan D’Antonio