Fire Marshal Investigates Cause of Massive Factory Fire in Glastonbury

Firefighters spent nearly 24 hours battling a massive fire that destroyed a manufacturing plant in Glastonbury, Connecticut and forced several families out of their homes as concerns arose that the smoke pouring into the air could contain toxic gases, like carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide.

Firefighters responded to Preferred Display, a company on Roaring Brook Plaza that makes cosmetic displays, around 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday and found massive flames coming from the old mill building that was built in the 1800s.

It took around three hours for firefighters to put out the blaze, but crews remained on the scene for around 24 hours to put out hot spots.

As of Thursday morning, most of the building had collapsed and firefighters said they plan to bring in an excavator to move debris and put out any hot spots that continue to smolder.

Crews from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will also return to the scene to conduct air quality tests to ensure that the air is safe to breath. 

Jeff Chandler, emergency response unit supervisor for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said on Wednesday that the department was concerned that the burning plastic inside the building could break down into toxic gases.

"They bring in sheets of the poly-acrylic, cut that and use it in the work that they use for building the display cases," Chandler said. "Fortunately, we're not dealing with raw chemicals here. We're just dealing with the poly-acrylic. The byproducts of combustion of that are somewhat hazardous as far as inhalation."

Residents of about a half dozen homes on Sherbrook Drive, near the factory, were evacuated on Wednesday, but have been able to return home.

All 75 employees who were in the building when the fire started managed to escape and no injuries have been reported.

As DEEP tests the air, the fire marshal is focused on determining what started the fire.

Officials from the company’s headquarters in New Jersey said they are focused on the safety of the workers and haven't talked yet about what will happen to the jobs and the plant in the future.

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