Lauretti on fire damage: ‘It’s all gone. It’s now for the history books’

Mayor Mark Lauretti said the fire in downtown Shelton this morning has destroyed an entire block.

“It’s all gone,” Lauretti said on Monday at about 10:45 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 6. “It’s now for the history books.”

The fire began at slightly before midnight on Howe Avenue between Center Street and Bridge Street/Viaduct Square, on the Coram Avenue side. The block includes such businesses as Liquid Lunch and Howe Convenient on the first floor as well as offices and residences on upper floors.

Lauretti said during his 22 years as mayor the city has had to contend with many fires in the central business district, but this appears to the worst during that time period.

“That building was built in the 1850s,” he said. “It was a tinderbox.”

Excellent response

Lauretti, who was at the fire scene this morning, said the emergency response was good. “If it saved lives, it was perfect,” he said.

Initial reports are that a few people were injured during the blaze, but none of the injuries are considered serious or life-threatening.

Shelton’s four volunteer fire companies were assisted by firefighters from many nearby towns.

Restore utilities, help the displaced

As of mid-morning, Lauretti said the city’s focus was to restore utilities to the immediate surrounding area and to help displaced residents.

He said be believes about 30 people lived in the upper floor apartments in the city block impacted by the fire.