Beacon Falls fire crews investigate blaze at former meatpacking plant

Connecticut

BEACON FALLS, Conn. (WTNH) — Firefighters spent all morning battling a stubborn over night fire in what used to be a meat packing building. No one was injured, but that building is now a pile rubble.

It was about a quarter to three in the morning when the call came in. The boxy structure on Rimmon Hill Road in Beacon Falls was built as a slaughterhouse in the ‘50s. Now, it was going up in smoke. Lots of smoke.

“The smell of the smoke scared me,” said Paula Atkins, who lives nearby. “I got up, I ran and checked all 3 floors of the house, looked out the back to make sure, because it’s all wooded, to make sure woods wasn’t on fire.”

The fire was a good quarter mile away up a remote stretch of Rimmon Hill Road, which presented a big problem for firefighters.

“There are no hydrants in this area,” said Jeremy Rodorigo, public information officer for the Beacon Falls Fire Department. “We had to call in mutual aid tankers from all the surrounding towns.”

“They set up the holding pond. Our pumper truck showed up,” said Atkins, describing the scene in front of her house. “There were other towns showing up, and then all of a sudden they set it up and they got it down pat.”

For hours, those tankers kept filling what looked like an above ground swimming pool full of water. That water then got pumped up the road that quarter mile. 

The building had not been used for meat in years. It was being used as storage for a greenhouse business, with lots of wooden pallets inside. That meant a lot of fuel for the flames.

“You walked out and the fire is huge,” said Paul Izokaitis, who lives across the street from the burning building. “There were balls of fire just going up in the air.”

The family’s that owns the building brought in an excavator to start tearing down the walls. It was the only way to get inside to the worst of the flames. As scary as the flames looked,  firefighters had it under control from the beginning.

“It’s glad that no one got hurt and it was just a warehouse and everyone is all safe,” Izokaitis said.

The family that owns the building tells News 8 that the items stored inside were not valuable, so the loss is not a financial one, but a sentimental one, as the building has been in the family for some 60 years.

The State Police Fire Marshals office is investigating what caused the fire.

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