Neighborhood Clear after Chem Fire

Monday, September 15, 2014 @ 03:09 PM gHale

A five-alarm fire Thursday helped melt metal and sparked a series of explosions that brought down brick walls from two businesses and sent fireballs 100 feet into the air in Bridgeport, CT. The fire call first came in at 6:45 p.m. Thursday and burned for hours.

A power outage lingered until Friday afternoon; runoff from the water used to douse the flames turned nearby bodies of water purple.

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Flames reached over and through power lines, threatening nearby homes and damaging siding and roofs. At least 400 people had to evacuate their homes, although most were back Friday and all had returned by Saturday. Swimming and fishing bans were in place in Bridgeport Harbor because of the runoff.

Despite all of that, there were no injuries in the incident.

Rowayton Trading Co., which buys and sells used chemicals — including industrial fragrances — and JWC Roofing and Siding Supply, a wholesaler for home improvement contractors were the business hit by the blaze.

The residential neighborhood behind the businesses suffered in the incident as well as houses ended up scorched and pelted with debris. Vinyl siding melted, roof tiles ended up crushed and the sidewalk suffered stains with blood-like blotches of perfume.

For now, there will be no fishing or swimming in Bridgeport from Pleasure Beach in the east to Black Rock Harbor at the Fairfield line in the west, said David Poynton from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

State environmental workers and the U. S. Coast Guard are taking extensive samples of the water to determine if it contains anything harmful. The drinking water is safe, authorities said.

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