Howe Avenue fire closes four businesses, kills three animals

A fire on Howe Avenue Saturday night, caused four neighboring businesses to close indefinitely  and killed three animals that were trapped inside.

Just before 12 a.m. on Saturday, June 16 the Shelton Fire Department, Derby Fire Department and the Emergency Animal Response Service (EARS) were dispatched to Howe Avenue in response to smoke seeping out of one of apartments located on top of the strip of businesses.

According to Shelton Fire Chief Francis Jones, the fire started in the shared basement of the four businesses and made its way up to all three floors of the building.

“There is smoke damage to all three floors and electrical wiring damage as well,” said Chief Jones. “I’m pretty sure that two parakeets and a chinchilla were the animals that were killed, most likely from inhaling smoke.”

Chief Jones commended the job done by his staff and both of the services that assisted for helping to remove 29 other animals safely from Little Petting Zoo, one of the four businesses affected by the fire.

“After the animals were taken from the building in their cages, EARS assisted us by taking them all to an animal hospital in North Haven,” said Jones.

City Stylez Barber Shop, Little Petting Zoo, M&T Nail & Spa Salon and Formal Massage were all deemed to be unsafe for use or occupancy by the city of Shelton.

According to the fire chief, the fire department conducted its search of the properties and discovered that no one was hurt. Jones said the person who called in the reports of smoke, lived inside of one of the apartments within the building and helped alert their neighbors in order to get them to safety.

Jones said it took the crew of emergency services until approximately 12:30 a.m. to extinguish the flames, but firefighters stayed after to help residents whose homes were badly damaged.

Red Cross is helping the 12 tenants whose apartments were damaged, according to Jones.

The city’s fire marshal James Tortora is investigating the cause of the fire.