NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH)-- A section of State Street shut down in New London, as several area fire departments battled a blaze. It happened in a building with more than a dozen rental units and two businesses.
Everyone got out of their homes and businesses safely. The two businesses are a mess and the many people who live there won't be going back anytime soon.
Extreme heat on the fourth floor, just one of the many challenges firefighters faced inside the State Street building where there are 18 rental units and two businesses.
New London firefighters showed News 8 inside, where false multi-layered walls made their jobs difficult.
"These buildings are 80 plus years old and what happens is every time they do a refit, they just put sheet rook over what was there to make it look good, and now we have all these void spaces we have to go through," said Fire Chief Henry Kydd.
Fire Chief Henry Kydd says the firefighters later realized the fire had made its way to the rear section of the building, which had three layers of roofing materials.
The owner of Zambala Convenience Store downstairs says he smelled the smoke and he and a few customers rushed outside.
"Then, we're looking upstairs and the smoke was there," said Dakpa Gyaltsen.
He says his business and State Street Diner are a mess. But, he's just happy everyone got out safe, including a cat firefighters found a few hours after the fire broke out.
"Somebody said is the building going to shut down? I said maybe a month, a couple months. I don't know," said Gyaltsen.
Several other departments assisted New London firefighters like Waterford, Norwich, Mohegan Tribe, Naval Sub Base, and EMS sub base.
"Like I said, it was a labor intensive fire and we just had to rotate people through," said Kydd.
Firefighters spent most of the afternoon removing the roof of the building. There's still no word on a cause.
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