By Elio Gugliotti, Editor | REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN WATERBURY
NAUGATUCK — No one was injured when a fire broke out in a mixed-use building on Meadow Street Sunday night, but the building sustained significant damage.
Deputy Fire Chief Paul Russell said a woman who lived in the second-floor apartment at 150-152 Meadow St. reported at 10:18 p.m. that there was smoke in her apartment. When firefighters arrived on the scene, he said, the woman was safe and out of the building, and smoke was coming out of the front door.
No one was injured, Russell said.
Russell said firefighters entered through the front door to find the source of the fire and put it out.
“Our guys did an aggressive interior frontal attack,” Russell said.
Russell said officials deemed the fire out and under control at 12:26 a.m. Firefighters did a great job to save the building, he said, but it’s uninhabitable. Russell said it’s believed the fire started on the first floor toward the back of the building. The cause is under investigation.
The first floor houses an office for Wellmore Behavioral Health, a Waterbury-based private nonprofit that provides mental and behavioral health services.
Wellmore CEO Gary Steck said the office was completely destroyed and nothing is savable.
“Buildings and stuff can be replaced. It’s a blessing no one got hurt,” he said.
Steck said the organization provided services to children and adolescents at the office.
In the short term, Steck said the organization will expand its hours at its office at 141 East Main St. in Waterbury to accommodate its clients the best it can.
Steck said the organization is committed to staying in Naugatuck and is working with a local business to secure a temporary location in the borough while it figures out a long-term plan to rebuild. Steck said he received numerous calls on Monday from businesses, organizations, and people in the community looking to help.
“One of the bright spots in an otherwise tough day,” Steck said.
The second floor of the building sustained smoke and some fire damage, Russell said, and there was smoke damage to the third floor.
The building was built in 1870 and is owned by Robert P. Matusz of Naugatuck, according to borough records. Since the house is old, Russell said, firefighters had to do a lot of labor-intensive work to check the ceilings and walls to ensure the fire was out.
Firefighters from Waterbury and Beacon Hose Co. No. 1 in Beacon Falls provided mutual aid at the scene. The Prospect Volunteer Fire Department provided coverage at the Naugatuck Fire Department.