Torrington residents were allowed back in their homes on Thursday night, 11 hours after a massive fire broke out in a Torrington tire warehouse and firefighters finally left the scene this morning.
The fire started at a warehouse at Taylor and Albert streets in Torrington that houses tires for Toce Brothers and O and G Industries in Torrington.( Thu Apr 03 20:15:14 PDT 2014 $__output )
Mutual aid was brought in from several communities to help put the fire out. Twenty departments were assigned to the fire, 16 of which were working in the city. On Friday morning, firefighters remained at the scene.
No injuries have been reported, but around 100 residents were evacuated as a precaution because of air quality and were able to go to the Coe Park Civic Center.
During a news conference on Thursday afternoon, the mayor said safety is the important thing and urged people to stay in their homes and keep the windows closed.
"It was incredible,” said Lionel Padilla, one of dozens of people who were forced to evacuate.
Residents said they felt like they were suffocating as the flames torched thousands of tires across the street.
Padilla said he was worried about the entire neighborhood.
“I thought the whole place was going to burn down. That's how bad it was,” Padilla said.
The heat was so intense that it melted the siding on a home a few feet away.
“If it was any closer, my garage would have caught on fire and maybe my house,” said John Borja.
He was in disbelief while looking at the devastation from his backyard.
“It’s too close,” Borja said.
Fire Chief Gary Brunoli said on Thursday that much of the building where the fire started collapsed and a company has been monitoring the air in all areas south of the fire.
Officials from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said the water runoff from battling the fire impacted the Naugatuck River. There is an "extremely minor" sheen and some solid debris, according to DEEP, and they are using booms.
DEEP officials also deployed three foam trailers because plastics act like flammable liquids when they burn.
The Southwest School in Torrington was also affected. They cancelled afternoon kindergarten for Thursday and the students from morning kindergarten remained in the building until the afternoon.
Several roads were closed in the area and police were asking drivers and pedestrians to avoid the area so emergency vehicles could have the access they need.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.