Shelton fire victims get help from SBA officials at City Hall

Above, Shelton resident Robert Walden, seated on right, meets with Small Business Administration (SBA) officials on Friday morning in the temporary fire disaster relief office in Shelton City Hall.

Walden lived in the apartment building on Howe Avenue that was destroyed by the massive downtown fire on Jan. 6.

The SBA officials are field operations specialists Gus Fernandez, left, and Jerome Strong, both normally based in Atlanta, Ga.

The SBA has set up the office in City Hall Room 104, near the main entrance, to go over assistance programs available to residents, businesses and property owners impacted by the fire. The federal SBA is offering low-interest, long-term loans, based on eligibility criteria.

Twelve people visited on first day

The SBA office opened on Wednesday, and Strong said 12 people came in for guidance on the first day. On Thursday, the second day, another four people visited the office.

One of those meeting with SBA officials were the property owners, Ralph and Elaine Matto, who were the most impacted by the blaze that destroyed or damaged much of a city block.

The temporary SBA fire disaster relief office will be open for eight operational days, through the end of the business day on Thursday, Feb. 6. Hours are weekdays from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and this Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.