Fire damages equipment at treatment plant


NAUGATUCK — A fire broke out Thursday night in a sludge dryer at the borough’s wastewater treatment plant on Cherry Street Extension.

Firefighters responded to a fire at about 6:30 p.m. at the plant, which is operated Veolia Water North America. Fire Marshal Ned Dalton said the fire started in a sludge dryer. After sewage is treated at the plant it goes into a sludge dryer to evaporate any water before going to the incinerator, he explained.

Officials are investigating what caused the fire and what exactly caught fire.

Dalton said workers at the plant turned on a system used to flush the dryer with water. This put out the fire in the dryer, he said.

A flexible coupling exhaust pipe used to vent the dryer also caught fire. Dalton said it’s likely it was the same fire that started in the dryer. The fire burned inside the pipe and eventually spread to outside the pipe. Crews extinguished the pipe fire, he said.

Crews were on the scene for several hours Thursday ventilating the plant.

Dalton said the fire only damaged the equipment and there was no structural damage to the plant. The plant was not operating at full capacity Friday due to the fire, he said.

About 15 minutes after crews responded to the fire at the plant, an accidental oil fire started at the KFC restaurant on Bridge Street. Dalton said firefighters doused this fire, which was contained to the cooking area, with a fire extinguisher.

There were no injuries reported from either fire.

Firefighters from Waterbury, Beacon Falls, Prospect and Middlebury provided mutual aid during the fires.