Firefighters remain on scene of Waterbury fire believed to be arson

(WTNH/ Renee Chmiel)

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH)– Waterbury firefighters spent Sunday trying to put out a fire that started Saturday night in a vacant building. They worked to put out hot spots. Part of South Main Street remains closed as they continue to investigate. Officials now believe it’s arson.

“When you have an empty building with no electricity, a great volume of fire moving through the building very quickly, that’s all the indication that it had help,” said Waterbury Fire Chief David Martin.

Related: Massive fire at abandoned factory in Waterbury 

The fire started shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday. It was so massive Saturday night the flames could be seen from Route 8.

The State Fire Marshal and a dog began investigating on Sunday afternoon. Crews will be able to investigate further once the fire is completely out. They don’t believe there was anyone inside when the fire started. The building has been empty for the past several years; it was last used by a rental center.

“It’s something that we deal with,” said Martin. “It’s what happens when you have an inventory of these types of buildings, old mills that have been empty for a long time.”

One of the biggest challenges for firefighters was the wind. However, they were able to keep the fire from destroying the buildings nearby. Some had very minor damage, but officials say it could have been much worse. It was a long night for firefighters, however.

“We run about three hours at a time,” said Martin. “It’s a little big chilly but not too cold, and in three hour blocks it’s not so bad.”

The City of Waterbury now owns the building. The rest of it will soon be torn down.

“It makes the cleanup much easier,” said Martin. “You don’t have to find a responsible owner. We know who owns it. It makes the investigation much easier. ”

Crews were also searching for hazardous materials. Officials are expecting environmental reports by Tuesday.

They are hoping South Main Street will reopen by Monday morning.