Accident or arson? Police, Fire Marshal investigate Canal Street fire

The investigation into the 235 Canal St. fire continues, and officials are trying to determine if the fire was set by accident or on purpose.

“We determined that there was no power into the building, so it couldn’t have been an electrical issue,” Police Lt. Robert Kozlowsky said.

The abandoned building is the former home to Apex Tools and Cutter Company. The fire also spread to Better Packages, Inc., causing some damage.

There have been reports of homeless people staying there in the past, but police are not sure yet if anyone was there early Wednesday morning, when the fire broke out.

“We have two detectives who are certified in arson investigation and they are working hand-in-hand with the fire marshal’s office,” Kozlowsky said. “We’re at the stage where we’re trying to determine it was an accident or arson.”

Original story:

Firefighters knocked down a blaze early Wednesday morning, that damaged an abandoned 235 Canal St. building and spread to a business next door.

The report of the fire in the abandoned building on Canal Street came in just before 1:30 a.m., according to Shelton Fire Department Public Information Officer Nick Verdicchio.

“When firefighters arrived there was heavy fire showing the former Apex Tool and Cutter Company building next to Better Packages,” Verdicchio said. “We had the bulk of the fire knocked down in 30 minutes but the problem is we ran into a lot of obstacles.”

Since Canal is a narrow street, the conditions were cramped and firefighters had problems with ice, Verdicchio said. Keeping the fire out also proved challenging.

“Hotspots kept popping up, it was a stubborn fire,” Verdicchio said.

The fire spread to Better Packages, causing some damage.

Volunteer firefighters from all four city companies responded, as well as Shelton EMS and mutual aid from Derby, Ansonia and Trumbull.

Firefighters remained at the scene Wednesday morning to put out any hotspots. The Fire Marshal’s office was also investigating. — John Kovach photo

There were no occupants in the buildings at the time. Most fire crews left the scene by 5 a.m. but a couple of crews remained there this morning, extinguishing hot spots.

Fire Marshal James Tortora was investigating the scene Wednesday morning. No cause is known yet. Both buildings are still standing, Verdicchio said, but there is damage to both.

One firefighter slipped on ice during response and injured his ankle, Verdicchio said. He was treated at the hospital and released.

“The guys did a great job,” Verdicchio said. “Between the ice, cramped working conditions, water problems, they overcame a lot.”