Fire damages Naugatuck industrial building

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Firefighters and investigators look into the cause of an early morning blaze at a large industrial building at 550 Spring St. in Naugatuck Saturday. RA ARCHIVE
NAUGATUCK — A fire early Saturday morning destroyed part of a large industrial building at 550 Spring St. that houses five businesses.

Three of the five businesses — office space for Yofarm Co., Synagro and Fascop — were affected, said Patrick Guarino and Ralph Minervino, co-owners of the building. They operate out of the front part, which is a total loss, the men said.

The back part sustained only water and smoke damage, fire officials said.

Guarino and Minervino co-own Multi-Metal Manufacturing Co., which they run out of the back part of the building. Two other businesses are located there as well — warehouse space for Yofarm and another single business owner, Minervino said.

“I thank the fire department,” Guarino said. “They did a fantastic job considering when you look at the front part of the building.”

The two men looked at the charred remains of the building as investigators began to pick apart the building yesterday with an excavator to determine the cause of the fire.

Authorities from the local and state fire marshal offices were still looking into the cause late Saturday.

Fire Chief Ken Hanks said four firefighters received minor injuries, with one requiring hospital treatment.

Firefighters responded about 1:45 a.m. to a fire alarm at the building, followed by a report from a neighbor seeing fire.

The roof collapsed about 10 minutes after firefighters arrived, Hanks said. Heavy fire engulfed the front, and blew out windows, he said.

Firefighters used hoses from ladders and from the ground to attack the fire, Hanks said. They had it under control within about two hours, but were waiting later Saturday to put out hot spots underneath the collapsed roof, he said.

Waterbury and Beacon Falls firefighters responded to the scene, Hanks said.

Beacon Hose Co. No. 1 of Beacon Falls, Prospect and Middlebury volunteer fire departments provided coverage at the stations. Cheshire and Middlebury also provided lighting equipment, fire officials said.

Guarino and Minervino said they have owned the building for 10 years, and before relocating to Naugatuck, they operated out of Waterbury for more than 20 years. They said employees were in the back portion of the building at the time of the fire, but no one was injured.

Multi-Metal Manufacturing employees about 20 people, and has been in business for 37 years, the owners said. It specializes in screw machine products, the company website states.

The building totals about 84,000 square feet, and the part destroyed is about 26,000 square feet of that, Minervino said.

Yofarm’s signature product is YoCrunch, a yogurt with options in toppings. Minervino said Synagro is a waste treatment company that is headquartered in Texas, and Fascop is a hardware distributor. He didn’t know how many employees they have.

The two men said they wouldn’t be able to get inside the building until they receive approval from authorities.

Minervino’s family joined him on scene around 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

His daughter, Tara Coakley, who was visiting from Elm Grove, Wis., said, “It’s a sad day for our family.”