Police, court and fire news
Ansonia factory catches fire, disrupts Metro-North branch
ANSONIA — A Main Street factory building caught fire Wednesday afternoon, and the nearly 100 firefighters who rushed to the scene had to wait a half hour for electrical power to be cut before they could douse the flames.
The two-alarm fire in the roof area of the old factory could have been much worse if it hadn’t been spotted by employees who happened to stop by the factory, which is used for storage, fire officials said.
No one was injured in the blaze, which was called in at 12:35 p.m. The factory had minor damage, Assistant Fire Chief Michael Eheman said. The Metro-North Waterbury line was closed temporarily, with buses used to transport commuters, because fire hoses were stretched across the tracks.
The fire was discovered when workers at Diversified Electric had stopped at the building and smelled smoke, Eheman said. He said the company uses the building for “cold storage” and no one was inside at the time.
The fire appears to have started when one of the electrical cables that run across the building was sagging onto the roof, he said.
“With the bad weather and the wind,” Eheman said, the electrical wire landed on a roof rafter. The wire was probably chafed and caught fire, he said.
Since it was an electrical fire, the firefighters had to wait to extinguish the blaze until United Illuminating Co. crews cut off the power to the building and surrounding structures, he said.
“The ceiling was going but we couldn’t extinguish it with water,” Eheman said.
Once the power was cut and they were able to run the water line, the fire was knocked down quickly, he said.
The site of the blaze was difficult to reach as well, he said.
A few minutes into the operation, a call came in for a kitchen fire at the Burger King on Pershing Drive. Eheman said the restaurant’s sprinkler system doused the minor fire.
Aerial trucks from Derby, Seymour and Shelton were on scene at the factory blaze, Eheman said. Woodbridge and Orange firefighters provided coverage at the city’s firehouses.
Man sent to prison for sexual assault on child
MILFORD — A Derby man was sentenced to 15 years in prison Monday in Superior Court for sexually assaulting an adolescent girl.
A jury in February convicted Anwar Shakir, 36, of first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a child.
Shakir, who maintains that he is innocent, will be on probation for 20 years after he serves his sentence, and he must register as a sex offender for life. A protective order bars him from any contact with the victim.
If Shakir violates probation after his release, he risks having to serve a full 25 years behind bars.
After Shakir’s arrest, Derby police Lt. Sal Frosceno said the department had received a complaint in January 2009, and got an arrest warrant after a long investigation. The sexual abuse happened in Shakir’s house at the time, on Derby Avenue, and involved a child Shakir knows, according to police.
posted by Patti at 7:40 AM