The trash fire that damaged a Winter Bros. Waste Systems CT sorting/transfer facility in Shelton on Tuesday night is not considered to be suspicious in nature, according to Shelton Fire Marshal James Tortora.
The exact reason why the fire began may never be known, he said.
“There’s been no determination on how it started, and we may not be able to determine it,” Tortora said Wednesday afternoon, about 20 hours after the blaze began on Oliver Terrace.
The fire began in a pile of debris inside a large warehouse-type structure used to separate metal and wood items from discarded construction and demolition materials.
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Tortora said possible causes include:
— spontaneous combustion (self heating and ignition of materials)
— a chemical reaction from something mixed in with the debris
— a spark from a metal item such as a nail
The damage is estimated at $50,000, according to Tortora.
Building empty when fire began
Tortora said operations at the facility had closed down for the day when the fire began. “They were not in the building at the time of the fire, but had been doing operations there earlier,” he said.
A Winter Bros. official said the company expects to repair the building and re-start operations there in the future. An engineer hired by the company described the structure as being “stable” and “safe” after a Wednesday morning inspection.
The structure consists of a pre-engineered steel building placed on top of a concrete foundation. It’s simplicity — no flooring, no room dividers, limited mechanicals, etc. — is one reason the damage was so limited despite the intensity of the fire.