Stamford, Conn.-- Newcopter 7 was over the scene as a six alarm fire in Stamford, Connecticut raged inside an antiques warehouse. Fighting this mammoth blaze has pushed Stamford's firefighting abilities to the limits. Eyewitness News reporter Joe Torres has the story.
Shifting winds, a very old building and a lack of water pressure in this part of town is what made this fire so problematic. Firefighters had to pull water from Long Island Sound to extinguish the flames.
The fire broke out shortly after noon inside a downtown Stamford warehouse building that housed numerous small businesses and antique stores and furniture dealers. What sparked the six alarm blaze is still unclear.
Choking black smoke poured into the sky and could be seen for miles. Police say about 20 people inside the building escaped without injury. Cops also evacuated about 200 people in neighboring homes.
Jonathan Hart and Franklin Lane were inside the nearby Stamford Men's Shelter.
Franklin Lane, Shelter Resident: "I seen smoke coming out of the building and then all of a sudden I saw fire shooting out of the bottom part of the building."
Jonathan Hart, Shelter Resident: "It kept getting worse and worse and then I seen the flames shooting up through the roof and then all of a sudden I heard a couple of explosions and I seen the roof collapse."
City leaders said every engine company in Stamford responded to the scene in an effort to contain and control the fire. Several cares near the warehouse also caught fire. Pete Scrofani fears one of those cars is his.
Pete Scrofani, Fire Victim: "I can't get in there, they won't let us move our cars. Fire trucks are backed up to it and probably going to be filled with smoke tomorrow, if they're not melted."
The warehouse is the former site of the Yale and Town Manufacturing Company, which made locks. The building dates back to the 19th century.
Deputy Chief Tim Conroy: "It's an older section of town and it's the first time that I'm aware of in 27 years that we took water out of Long Island Sound. We always use the hydrant system. Couldn't get enough water to control it."
Deputy Chief Tim Conroy also tells us that it's possible that this fire started in a woodworking shop inside the building, but we'll have to wait for the investigation to say for sure.
He said it was one of the first places that they saw when they arrived that was fully engulfed in flames. Three total buildings, two total buildings involved in the fire.
There was a sprinkler system inside but the chief told us that it was no match for old floors and oil in those floors.
(Copyright 2006 WABC-TV)
Republished with permission of WABC-TV.