Investigation into fire at Meriden auto recycling business continues

reporter photo

MERIDEN — Fire Department officials have completed the on-scene portion of their investigation of a Friday’s fire that  destroyed a local auto recycling building.

“We’ve got a lot of information, we’ve just got to sit down and piece it all together,” said Fire Marshal Steven Trella.

The fire began at approximately 8 a.m. at J.C. Recycling Inc., 45 Hall Ave.

Due to the extensive damage to the building, debris from the collapsed roof and portions of wall had to be removed with an excavator so investigators could enter. 

“I can’t do the investigation looking at it from the parking what you’ve got to do, I’m going to say, is surgically remove (the debris),” Trella said.

While it’s too early to determine the origin of the fire, Trella said he expects the investigation to be completed either Tuesday or Wednesday.

He said three or four workers were inside the building when it started. None were injured.

Once the investigation was completed Friday, including the taking of photographs and video, the building had to be demolished in the interest of public safety, Trella said. 

“Once all that was all done there really wasn’t enough stability left in the building,” he said. “The building obviously had to come down, there was a lot of fire damage done to it.”

Deputy Fire Chief Ryan Dunn said industrial fires tend to be more difficult to extinguish.

“This building had a large fire load in it with all of the scrap parts,” said Deputy Fire Chief Ryan Dunn. “Vehicles burn very rapidly…the firefighters did a great job despite the circumstances that were thrown at us.”

“Nobody got hurt so that’s what really matters,” said City Councilor Joe Carabetta III, whose family owns the company, on Friday.   “You can rebuild anything, but you can’t rebuild a life.”

He said the fire department prevented the flames from spreading to an adjacent home.

“You’ve got to commend them,” Carabetta said.

Barbara Orzech, who lives on Hall Avenue, said she was watching from her home.

“Looks like they did real well controlling it,” she said. “I thought that everyone responded very quickly.”
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