Shelton fire: ‘I know people who live in that building’

Michelle Salvati was trying to get to the downtown Shelton post office on Monday afternoon, but wasn’t certain if she could reach it on foot — or if it would even be open if she made her way there.

Like many people on Monday, the massive fire on Howe Avenue between Center Street and Bridge Street was impacting her routine.

As someone who grew up in Shelton, Salvati said she was emotionally touched by all the damage and destruction caused by the blaze. “This is terrible,” she said. “I know people who live in that apartment building.”

And in the early 1990s, when the old Boys & Girls Club burned down nearby, she also was impacted. “The last time something like this happened was the Boys & Girls Club, and my kids were in there,” she said.

Her children, like the people who lived in the apartments destroyed by the early morning fire on Monday, were able to get out safely.

Salvati frequently has patronized some of the businesses impacted by the fire, such as Liquid Lunch and Howe Convenient. “It’s devastating what has happened to them,” she said. “Those buildings have been there forever.”

Displaced families

Also on Monday afternoon, Paul and Wendy Hahn of Shelton were walking on Center Street toward Howe Avenue to get a look at the fire’s aftermath.

“It’s very sad,” Paul Hahn said. “We’re very troubled by all the people displaced — all the families.”

Wendy Hahn said they also were concerned about the small business owners who no longer would have a home for their businesses.

The Hahns own the Chocolate Pizza Company on Coram Avenue, just around the corner, which was not directly impacted by the fire.

‘I saw a lot of good there’

Alderman Jack Finn said firefighters should be recognized for their efforts in saving lives.

“I saw a lot of good there,” said Finn, the city’s longest serving alderman, who had been at the scene for many hours. “These were all volunteers going in, risking their lives, to get people out. And others arrived later to do what they do best.

“A lot of people,” he said, “owe gratitude to firefighters from Shelton and other towns for what they did.”

Finn was at the scene as a volunteer fire company member, but stressed his comments were being made as an alderman and not as a fire volunteer.