Firefighters battle blaze at Shelton trash facility: 'It could burn for a long time'

Multiple fire companies are battling a trash fire at the Winter Bros. Waste Systems CT trash transfer station at 46 Oliver Terrace in Shelton on Tuesday evening. (Photos by Brad Durrell)

The call came in at about 5:15 p.m. The fire is taking place inside a large steel structure filled with garbage.

Firefighters from Shelton and Derby, from positions on the ground and on truck ladders, are pouring water on the building as dark, heavy smoke billows out of the structure.

Oliver Terrace is off Platt Road, near Bridgeport Avenue. It is a heavy industrial area.

Winter Bros. has a few different operations in the area, and the building on fire is not the new $15 million recycling center but a smaller structure closer to Platt Road.

No one is believed to have been in the structure when the fire began.

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Wood and construction material burning

Shelton Fire Chief Fran Jones said the building is filled with mostly wood and construction material, and no hazardous materials are believed to be inside.

“It’s contained to the building,” Jones said of the fire at about 5:45 p.m.

He said the structure itself is “a throw-away” building, being made of lightweight steel, so firefighters began operations by battling the blaze from the exterior. “The steel roof is basically gone,” Jones said.

Firefighters also could be seen pouring water inside metal containers near the structure, which are filled with other kinds of trash, such as cardboard.

Three of Shelton’s volunteer fire companies are at the scene — Echo Hose, Huntington and Pine Rock Park — as well as Derby. Shelton's fourth volunteer fire company, White Hills, is providing coverage for the rest of the city.

Dozens of firefighters are participating in the efforts, and there have been at least three minor injuries. Two firefighters were treated for heat issues and one for an elbow injury, as of about 6:10 p.m. Echo Hose EMS personnel and ambulances are at the scene.

'Was very black'

Deputy Fire Chief Tim Hongo said when the first firefighters arrived, responding to what originally had been called in as a brush fire, the area near the building “was very black...There was fire throughout the whole building.”

Hongo said the fire began to breach through the sides of the structure, so firefighters used equipment to pop holes in parts of the building to create ventilation and provide access for hoses to pour water inside.

“It’s mostly garbage,” Hongo said of what is burning. “How it started we don’t know.”

He said fire officials would know more once the fire cools down and firefighters are able to go inside. “It could burn for a long time,” Hongo said at about 6:20 p.m.

Hongo described the building on fire as a steel corrugated structure, and said local firefighters have received training on how to best handle blazes in large buildings such as the trash transfer facility.