Part of a historic 19th century factory building collapsed into the Housatonic River Saturday night after an explosion set it ablaze in Shelton, Connecticut, local media reports.
The former Star Pin building, dating back 145 years, formerly housed a factory that made pins and hooks for clothing. In more recent years the six-story brick building was home to manufacturing cardboard boxes. The Star Pin Company ceased operations in 1977.
An eyewitness reported hearing an explosion, immediately followed by flames as high as 135 feet rising from the building’s roof.
“At approximately 7:30 p.m. this evening the Shelton Fire Department was dispatched to 273 Canal Street East, the old Star Pin Company for the report of a building fire,” the Shelton Fire Department Facebook page states. “Fire arriving fire department units found a well involved and well-advanced fire” in the abandoned factory.
Due to the age and condition of the building a defensive strategy was adopted by firefighters, the Facebook page reports. Firefighters used ladder trucks and master streams to apply water, gaining control of the fire after more than three hours.
Firefighters from nearby Huntington, White Hills and Derby also responded to the scene.
Concern about asbestos contamination prompted the Shelton Fire Department to issue an advisory to the public asking that any debris from the fire found on private property should be reported to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for evaluation.