North Haven fire causes environmental worries, fire chief says

North Haven fire causes environmental worries, fire chief says

Hazardous materials and acid chemicals shut down part of North Haven following structure fire

NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – At approximately 3:11 AM, the North Haven Fire Department responded to a call of visible smoke coming from 33 Defco Park Road. The call was made by a nearby police officer working a paid detail that evening.  33 Defco Park Road is the street address of Parker-Hannifin Corporation. Parker-Hannifin is a manufacturing company that makes gaskets and seals for aircrafts.  

The initial report stated that smoke was showing but by the time officials arrived, firefighters had flames coming from the rear fo the 32,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility. 

The fire was contained and firefighters were able to minimize excessive damage to about 10% of the structure. The fire was declared controlled at approximately 5:00 AM. 

Fortunately, no was injured. But, it was determined that a large quality of acids and other chemicals used in the manufacturing process had spilled or leaked during the fire. 

"This was a challenging fire, with a large facility, bitterly cold conditions and the added element and potentially dangerous chemicals present at the scene," said Chief Januszewski. "I would like to commend our overnight fire crews and mutual aid partners for working diligently to contain this fire to only one portion of the building, despite the fire's head start with a non-functioning alarm system present in the building. Additionally, had it not been for the alert police officer in the area, the outcome may have been much worse." 

Fire Chief Januszewski has declared the incident a "hazardous materials incident." The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and a private environmental contracting company were called in to clean up the chemicals. The fire department also is providing decontamination for workers. 

Officials believe that the architectural design of the building worked well to mitigate exposure of any chemicals into the ground and the surrounding environment. 

Fire investigation into the interior of the building will commence as soon as all the chemicals are identified and removed. 

North Haven Fire Department also received mutual aid from Wallingford and Hamden Fire Departments. Additionally, North Branford Fire Department provided station coverage while crews worked the fire. 

As soon as clean up from the fire and the investigation into its origin is underway, officials will also investigate as to why the fire alarm system, which had been inspected in the past calendar year, had failed to notify the Fire Department. 

The building was also under remodeling and construction work and officials will look into whether or not that had played any role in either the failure of the alarm or the cause of the fire. 

(WTNH) – Steady heavy rain moves in tonight, into early Sunday morning, winds may be gusty at times. Scattered showers just after sunset will give way to a steadier rain arriving between 8-11 pm. One to two inches of rain overnight. Rain ends Sunday early morning. Increasing sunshine for Sunday afternoon. Umbrella alert once again for Monday. Temperatures drop off once again Tuesday through Friday but it looks to be dry.

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Posted in New Haven