Fire Causes More Than $3 Million in Damage at Shelton Factory

Four firefighters were hurt while battling a massive fire at a latex bedding factory in Shelton that damaged $3.5 million in stock alone.

Officials from Latex International Foam factory told the fire marshal that the damage estimate accounts for smoke damage alone. It does not include damaged equipment or what it will take to remove water thousands of gallons of contaminated water from the property.

The fire broke out just after 1 a.m. in the basement of the River Road factory, which produces latex bedding and mattresses, while workers were inside.

Fire alarms went off and everyone made it out safely, but four firefighters were injured while battling the flames.

One firefighter broke an arm and three others suffered heat exhaustion, fire officials said.

"When the first units came in, they found heavy fire load in the basement area, in the dryers," said Shelton Assistant Fire Chief Nick Verdicchio.

Latex International released a statement saying the company regrets that firefighters were injured and appreciates the quick response.

“At this stage, the company is working on ways of minimizing any disruption of service to its customers.  Our top priority is restoring manufacturing capability to cause the least disruption to our customers,” Latex International President and Chief Executive Officer David Fisher said in a statement.

Firefighters from several surrounding towns were called in to help and stayed on scene to help snuff out hot spots.

Crews from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection also responded and set down booms in the water.

Emergency workers pumped out and treated 400,000 gallons of contaminated water in the basement. At its highest, the water level hit four feet. The process was expected to take hours.

Latex International moved to the 208,000-square-foot building in Shelton after a major fire destroyed its Ansonia factory in 2001, according to the Associated Press. The manufacturer also survived an arson fire in 1975.

The parent company, Latex Foam International Holdings, filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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