PROSPECT — As the investigation into an October fire at an office building on Summit Road, the businesses displaced are working to pick up the pieces and move forward.
The fire destroyed the office building at 2 Summit Road during the early morning hours on Oct. 29. Fire Marshal Keith Griffin said this week the fire remains under investigation. He said the investigation will be ongoing and take some time to complete.
Five businesses and a couple that lived in an apartment attached to the office complex were displaced.
The most damage from the fire was done to the dentist office of Dr. Kenneth Capozzi, who had operated his practice in the building since June 2002.
“It’s very heart-wrenching,” Capozzi said of the fire. “I built that myself. I grew it and grew it. I was on my fourth expansion.”
Capozzi said he had just finished moving an interior wall to be able to install a new receptionist’s desk the Sunday before the fire. The counter for that desk was supposed to be delivered the same day as the fire.
Capozzi said he received a call about his office burning and arrived on the scene at 1:30 a.m.
“A lot of people there were grabbing what they could,” Capozzi said. “I lost all my equipment and all my personal belongings.”
Capozzi said that his office, which was approximately 3,200 square feet, contained four operatories, or rooms to see patients, a personal office, a reception area, and a sterilization center. A fifth operatory was in the process of being built.
Although he was upset about what he lost in the fire, Capozzi knows that it could have been worse.
“Thank goodness nobody was hurt,” Capozzi said. “I was paperless so luckily the files were all backed up.”
Capozzi said he also has an office in Oxford as part of the Oxford Dental Group, LLC, which he is currently using as his main office for the time. He is making arrangements to see all of his patients, but trying to see them in order of necessity.
“I’m trying to put cleaning off until I reopen, but if they want to be seen I will make arrangements for them to be seen,” Capozzi said.
However, since he is down to one office and only able to see a fraction of the patients he used to be able to Capozzi has also had to cut staff.
“Unfortunately I had to lay off several people because I can’t maintain their hours. Some were full-time and they were with me since day one so it was not an easy thing to do,” Capozzi said.
Capozzi said he has plans to return to Prospect and is currently searching for new office space in the town. Capozzi, who lives in Southbury, grew up in Prospect and said that he was thankful for the work of the Prospect Volunteer Fire Department.
“I have never felt more taken care of by a community than that night, and I definitely will be returning to Prospect so I can take care of my patients,” Capozzi said.
Capozzi wanted to let people know that he will be back in business as soon as possible.
“We will be up and running as soon as we can. Please do not forget us,” Capozzi said. “If there is a concern, please contact us and we will meet your needs.”
One of the other businesses displaced, Christian Counseling of Greater Waterbury, has also fallen on difficult times after the fire.
“This has definitely caused a dilemma,” Stephen Ciucci, counselor and owner of the counseling service, said. “I see clients on a regular basis. Now I don’t have an office to practice in.”
Ciucci said he is currently seeing some of his clients at Waterbury Christian Fellowship, 1 Dube Lane, Waterbury, which is the church he attends. However, he is not able to see as many, so will not be back to operating at full capacity until he has found a new office space.
The counseling service had been in the office complex on Summit Road since 2011. Ciucci said he would like to remain in Prospect if possible.
“Basically I am looking around for different office spaces in the area, which has been challenging,” Ciucci said.
Secure Investigations, LLC, owned by Michael O’Loughlin, was also temporarily displaced by the fire.
“We were unable to do any business,” O’Loughlin said.
Secure Investigations, a private investigation firm which specializes in background checks, moved after the fire to 4A Summit Road, which shares a parking lot with the building that burnt down.
“Luckily there was an open vacancy and we were able to move in,” O’Loughlin said.
O’Loughlin said the company did not lose any equipment and was able to find a new place quick enough that it didn’t lose any clients either.
“It was more just a rescheduling issue. We were able to reschedule and get everyone through,” O’Loughlin said. “We feel very fortunate.”