Norwalk Fire Department: About that ‘explosion’…

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This old South Norwalk factory caused fear Tuesday morning when neighbors heard what sounded like an explosion and smelled gas.

NORWALK, Conn. – You don’t often get three press releases in one day from the Norwalk Fire Department – especially about the same incident.

But that’s exactly what happened Tuesday after a 911 caller reported an explosion and a strong odor of gas at 17 Chestnut St.

There was no explosion, fire marshals say, just something that sounded like an explosion. But it took a while to get those facts in order.

The first press release said there had been an explosion. Then there were two “Hey wait, we have a correction” emails sent about the gas leak. Finally, three hours after the first press release, fire marshals sent out an amended version: the gas leak did not cause an explosion that caused the roof to implode. The roof imploded, causing a gas leak …

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It’s not easy to see the old tie factory at 17 Chestnut St. This is part of the view of it on Henry Street.

But that wasn’t the end of it. An hour and a half after that announcement, Chief Denis McCarthy sent out the final press release, which can be summarized thusly: “Please tell everyone there was no gas explosion. Please! No ignition of any type! Make sure you let people know!”

OK. For the record: Holes in the roof at an old tie factory at 17 Chestnut St. allowed rain and debris to accumulate on the second floor, which gave way. Falling debris made a loud noise – sounded like an explosion – and landed on a gas meter – hence, the dangerous gas leak.

“It was the collapse of the second floor which caused the gas leak,” Deputy Fire Marshal Christian Hansen said in the second to last press release. “The already weak structure was further compromised by the recent heavy rain and winds.”

And, they are planning to knock down that old thing soon, Hansen said.

Firefighters shut off the gas meter and Yankee Gas workers shut off the gas at the street, he said. All electrical power was shut off to the building and the Norwalk Building Department also came by to check things out.

McCarthy’s final words on the topic:

“Please note that despite how this incident was reported to the city; investigations by the Norwalk Fire Marshal’s Office and confirmed by independent examination by Yankee Gas has determined that no explosion occurred. There was no ignition of any type. Please be sure that all future reports clarify this point. The gas leak was caused by a partial roof collapse and that noise most likely was the sound heard by the original caller to 911.”

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Norwalk fire marshals say this old factory (which has a Chestnut Street address but fronts Henry Street) is slated for demolition soon.


3 responses to “Norwalk Fire Department: About that ‘explosion’…”

  1. spanner

    well I guess thats better than sending out a press release and then send another asking some photos not be used.Suggested it would show to a professional fire person a flaw in firefighting skills from the NFD.We all got those press releases didn’t we?

    This fire I mention was on South main st, the arson fire where so far no suspects have been charged as far as we know.It was for the books,one of the largest fires in Norwalk in years.Loss of life could of been the story but someone got the residents out in time.

    Simply a pathetic way of running a fire dept,even a city. Maybe because of the bad press showing the city asleep on this building seems now to be comical but sad.

    It was pointed out the distance from the school and the train station if a explosion was to have occurred there may have been a lot injuries without a doubt.

    Bottom line is the Norwalk fire dept was lucky there wasn’t a problem the building sat there for years owned by who?

    Maybe if the whole story was given to the press no one would of thought twice but when there is no accountability with McCarthy the city simply is wondering what other info was missed.

    Big plans costing a lot of money was shelved for the train station it was covered by Marty the Advocate train guy a while back he was unable to get any info on these plans that involved that building and a property owner who so far hasn’t been named.Why was that? no one thought it was important to know who’s building it was?Maybe the same person owns another in the same shape ready to crumble who knows.

    Like Lajoies the back room secret closed door meeting in Moccias office probably has taken place you know its election time and the safety of Norwalks residents still seem to be on hold its election time dammitt!

    This reminds me when the Oyster fest had an electrical fire under one of the tents and the fire dept downplayed that.

    Must be nice to have two fireboats in the water taking care of the sound when things on land may need some attention.It also reminds me of the pictures of a boatyard fire where hazardous materials are kept out in the open defying what the State or Feds would want to see for storage of flammables and waste but only in Norwalk does it fly as normal.

    So to my surprise I get a free smoke detectior card in my mailbox yesterday I was surprised that damage control has started so soon for the Mayors department.Thats one of the problems it should be the taxpayers dept.

    Where was the Mayors press release and where are those plans Norwalk paid so much money for involving that building and future plans of the train station?

    The name of Brown kept coming up years ago any idea who owns that building now?

    Oh Oh Oh Lieutenant Columbo would of asked where were the pictures from the fire dept and was the property alarmed?

  2. 0ldtimer

    Owner is SONO METRO LLC (Bruce Nienfield,Kieth Brown, Joseph Condon,Mathew Edvardson, & CBA Realty [Richard Aron]) According to City website and secretary of state website. Building was not valued for much, land is valued for more. It is listed as 15 Chestnut. Aron’s family ran a tie Mfg. company in the building.

  3. Broderick I. Sawyer

    The initial press release was incorrect, then corrected, end of story.
    Let’s discuss the rapid response, securing of the scene and mitigation of any potential hazard to the community by our Norwalk FD.

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