Demolition begins in Waterbury on old, vacant factory destroyed by fire

New Haven

It’s stood since the 1880s.

It was barely standing after July 30th when a massive fire ripped through it.

What’s left of it is now being knocked to the ground by demolition crews, and history buffs are sad to see it go.

“Out of all of the buildings in that area of The South End, that’s the building that I would’ve wanted to be preserved,” said Raechel Guest, a local historian.

She’s sad because she says the one-time Ansonia Copper and Brass Factory meant so much to establishing Waterbury as the Brass Capital of the World during the city’s manufacturing heyday.

“And it really was the heart of Waterbury’s industry,” she said. “What made Waterbury the city we all love.”

Original Story: Large fire breaks out at vacant factory in Waterbury

Mayor Neil O’Leary told News 8 there were multiple reasons why the burned-out factory had to be quickly torn down.

“It’s a danger to the community the way the factory is,” the mayor said. “When the wind is blowing you can see the walls moving, bricks falling. So, we’ve had to keep a lot of security there to keep people out of harm’s way.”

“The other thing is one of our biggest corporate entities, First Light, is located on the property and they’ve had to interrupt their gas to energy operation while the factory is in such a state of disarray, so we’re going to get that all cleaned up,” he said.

Mayor O’Leary and Waterbury authorities also want to know how the fire started. They’ve announced a reward of up to $2,500 for information that leads to an arrest. They believe the fire was intentionally set.

Related Content: Waterbury abandoned factory fire being called ‘suspicious’

“So far, everyone believes it’s an arson,” the mayor said. “There’s no question about it whether it was intentionally lit or kids playing with matches, someone homeless living inside — we don’t know. But we feel very, very strongly this was arson.”

And there’s a new development in the investigation. The mayor says surveillance video from the vacant factory shows people there right before the fire. He says it will be released to the media soon so the public might be able to identify those people.

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call 1-800-84ARSON.

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