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No One Was Hurt, However, the Buildings That Belonged to Seaport Marine Were Completely Destroyed by Fire
The Seaport Marine facility on Washington Street sustained severe damage from a large fire on Sunday night that destroyed two buildings and badly damaged an adjacent residence. However, no injuries were recorded after the fire was eventually put out with the help of a four-alarm response.
The vast storage facility and office building at the marine site were completely destroyed by the wind-driven fire, which broke out late Sunday evening and was entirely engulfed by 8:55 p.m. It also severely damaged a nearby residence. A huge cloud of smoke was left behind by the fire, and it lingered above Mystic’s famous downtown all night.
The Seaport Marine property, which is located at 2 Washington St., sustained substantial damage, but Stonington First Selectman Danielle Chesebrough expressed pride in the way local firefighters and police responded and worked to lessen the effects.
“The important thing to remember is that no injuries have been reported as of this morning. Chesebrough said on Monday, “I am grateful to everyone who helped make that happen. It was a significant fire, but it was restricted to the structures at the marina and did not spread further.
One of the buildings was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived and appeared to have been burning for some time before it was reported, according to officials. The Mystic Fire Department was in charge of the operation, with assistance from the Stonington and Westerly police, the state Department of Public Works, and mutual aid from all Stonington fire departments, North Stonington, Groton, Norwich, and other nearby communities.
More than a dozen fire departments, state officials, police, and emergency medical services responded to the incident. Around 12:30 a.m., firefighters were eventually able to put out the fire. A firefighter who may have inhaled smoke was sent to a nearby hospital for evaluation but was subsequently released, according to officials.
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Officials said that the well-known restaurant Red 36, which is situated on the property, was unharmed, despite some posts that suggested otherwise late on Sunday night. According to Stonington Police Deputy Chief Todd Olson, officers from both his department and the Town of Groton Police Department were summoned to duty and assisted in organizing a detour that caused Route 1 to be closed for almost three hours.
The town was guarded by Westerly officers and Connecticut State Police due to the requirement for employees and departmental resources for the response, he said. Mystic Fire Chief Anthony Manfredi Jr. informed the media on Sunday night that evacuations were carried out in conjunction with the police to help keep locals safe because there were worries that the fire would spread to adjoining properties, particularly those on Willow Street.
As a result of smoke conditions that triggered many hotel alarms, Mystic River Park and a number of homes were also evacuated, and guests of the Whaler’s Inn were transferred to the Mystic Hilton for the night. In a statement, Olson stated that “this morning, the (Stonington Police Department) and Office of the Connecticut State Fire Marshal were working with the local fire marshal on the scene.” These are standard investigating procedures for a fire of this nature.
According to Chesebrough, members of the town’s construction department were collaborating with fire marshals to assess the site’s safety. Officials from the town said that investigators had not reported any clues or reasons for suspicion.
The Holstein family, which recently sold another marina it owned, the 155-slip Noank Shipyard, to Epub Holdings, is the owner of the 122-slip marina that is situated along the east side of the Mystic River. General Manager Harry Boards informed the media that he and his family will continue to own and run Bridgeport Boatworks and Seaport Marine after the sale.
Chesebrough announced on Monday morning that she had already spoken to the Holsteins and that they were working to assess the damage, determine the need for safety measures, and continue to lessen the effect of the fire on nearby houses and the river itself.
Despite the fact that the fire left behind a lot of ash and other toxins that were pushed into the river during the response, Chesebrough claimed that there were no signs of substantial pollution. In the coming days, the town will continue to measure and assess the impact in collaboration with the state Department of Environmental Management staff and Ledge Light Health District authorities.
After chatting with the owners, she claimed that it seemed the family will try to reconstruct. The family, who could not be reached by phone on Monday morning, was referred to for additional information. The fire for the location happens following an 11-acre property’s projected redevelopment in 2019.
In addition to 120 additional berths, a 45-room hotel, a marine services building, a second restaurant, a public park and walkway, and homes, the Holstein family had requested Smiler’s Wharf as part of a total renovation. However, the suggestion was subsequently withdrawn by the family after criticism from the general public.
Chesebrough stated that the outcome of the Sunday night fire was about as well as the town could have asked for following a four-alarm fire. The fire followed a holiday weekend that included Santa’s visit to Mystic Seaport by tugboat just a night earlier and a football rivalry game.
Since a fire that ravaged a West Main Street building that was home to eight companies overnight in March 2000, this one was the biggest to hit the downtown area. Buildings on both sides of East Main Street near the drawbridge were destroyed in 1960 by a downtown fire on the Stonington side of the river. A movie theatre and fifteen businesses were damaged.
Chesebrough added, “We need to give thanks for the firefighters and police today, many of whom came in at the end of the long weekend to help respond. The same police officers and emergency personnel who had kept our community safe over the weekend responded immediately yesterday night. It was the deciding factor.