As the investigation continues as to what started the fire at the Midway Plaza on Flanders Road in the Niantic section of East Lyme, business owners are assessing the damage.
Rachael Bingaman, the owner of The Boss Babe Beauty, is one of at least five businesses below where the fire started. Damage to her business includes insulation hanging from the ceiling and debris scattered all over the ground.
“Multiple businesses were affected, people lost their homes. It's just very unfortunate,” said Bingaman.
Bingaman said her staff of six was busy working with clients when the fire broke out.
“A woman just came in and like barged in and said that the building was on fire. So we just all jumped up and ran outside. And then within seconds, like the building was just bursting in flames,” said Bingaman.
The fire appears to have started in one of the upstairs apartments, according to Chief Chris Taylor, from the Flanders Fire Department.
Large flames shot up from the building on Monday night as firefighters from multiple departments rushed in to help. The upstairs units were left destroyed, with the roof gone and two-by-fours and insulation exposed.
The American Red Cross assisted eight families who were displaced.
“I think we live in a great community that will rally around them. I know. I've already seen a couple posts on Facebook about you know, getting supplies and clothes for the kids that were that lived here in the family. So hopefully we can just come together and do that,” said KC Steele, who lives across the street and watched the fire in disbelief.