DEEP: Cause of fire at Waterbury scrapyard is petroleum-based, impacting Naugatuck River

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Firefighters have been called to put out a large fire at a scrapyard in Waterbury.

Before 9:30 a.m., crews were called to Albert Bros, which is located 225 East Aurora St., after reports of a large fire.

Albert Bros has been in the metal recycling business in Waterbury since 1895. The company says the fire broke out in its recycled metal piles.

News 8 crews were at the Mattatuck Museum in downtown Waterbury when they got the call to head to the scene. News 8’s Shaynah Ferreria said they could smell the fire from there, which is roughly 2.8 miles away from the scrapyard.

Upon arrival, they located multiple crews were working to throw water on the fire, which appears to be near a pile of debris.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Emergency Response Unit also responded to the fire, along with the Connecticut National Guard Civil Support Team.

Eric Albert, President of Albert Bros., Inc. said of the response to the fire, “Our fast-acting team members immediately alerted the Waterbury Fire and Police Departments. They followed established safety procedures to ensure their fellow team members’ safety and give unobstructed access to the first responders.”

According to DEEP, the cause of the fire is petroleum-based, and that has impacted the Naugatuck River. Booms are being deployed to contain runoff and the property owner is being directed to hire a contractor to run samples of the water for “volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds, and metals.”

One official on site told News 8’s LaSalle Blanks there is no cause for environmental alarm.

Jeff Chandler of DEEP said, “At this point, field screenings are indicating that air samples are indicating clean, normal, breathing air…There’s a possibility at a site like this that you could have runoff issues that involve halogens, such as PCBs, metals that could be tied up in the water column, or sediment, so we’re going to have them analyzed for that.”

A thick, black plume of smoke could be seen from Interstate 84 and Route 8.

Officials said the fire is contained to the scrapyard. No injuries have been reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Albert said as of 745 p.m., “The fire was not near any buildings and thankfully there were no injuries. At this time, the fire is out, everyone is safe, and we are forever grateful for the support of Waterbury’s finest, including the Waterbury Fire and Police Departments.”

He added, “We take our environmental stewardship very seriously and we will investigate the cause of the fire. We are also grateful to both the Connecticut DEEP and our licensed environmental professionals, whose quick response helped minimize any environmental impact. Our preparedness and safety procedures born from 125 years of metal recycling experience were tested and thankfully today proved successful.”

Albert Bros (Credit: CTDOT cam)

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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