Late-night fire at Shelton factory was arson; now under investigation

A criminal investigation is under way into a late-night fire at a Shelton company that specializes in corrugated cardboard packaging.

An initial investigation “determined [the fire] was incendiary in nature, which means arson,” said Shelton Fire Marshal James Tortora.

The arson determination was made with the help of Shelton police detectives, the city Fire Marshal’s Office, the State Police, and the state Fire Marshal’s Office, including the use of a state-provided K-9 dog with specialized training.

Shelton Police Det. Christopher Nugent confirmed the fire was being looked into but declined to offer any details about the police investigation or case at this time. “The fire is currently under investigation,” Nugent said.

Fire was in office at factory

The fire occurred in an office at Honey Cell manufacturing facility at Bridgeport Avenue and Long Hill Cross Road. The plant’s address is 600 Bridgeport Ave., but it is actually accessed from Long Hill Cross Road.

Tortora said the fire call came in at about 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 10. Upon arrival, firefighters found a fire in an office at the factory, “but the sprinkler system had it under control and kept it contained to the office,” he said.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the remaining fire soon after their arrival, Tortora said.

“First arriving units reported light smoke showing from the building,” according to an Echo Hose Fire posting. “A fire was found in one of the offices with the sprinkler system in operation.

"The remaining fire was quickly knocked down and companies checked for extension and ventilated the building," stated the posting.

Some employees were at the plant at the time of the fire and, according to the Echo Hose posting, one worker “was transported to the hospital with burn injuries.”

Company makes packaging

Based on the company website, Honey Cell is a part of Valley Container. Different divisions of the parent company specialize in different kinds of packaging.

Valley Container has a factory and its headquarters in Bridgeport, as well as facilities in Massachusetts and Ohio.

The 60,000-square-foot Shelton factory manufactures honeycomb packaging products — from panels to pallets — for the East Coast and Midwest, according to the company’s website.

“Honeycomb has excellent cushioning qualities to keep your product safe during transit and is a natural replacement for Styrofoam, corrugated build-ups, and wood,” states the company website.