Fire at Conn. Latex Factory Injures Four Firefighters

June 26--SHELTON -- A fire that ripped through a latex factory on River Road early Thursday morning left four firefighters injured, officials said.

About 100 firefighters responded to the blaze, which was called in at 12:50 a.m. At least eight fire engines and an ambulance were called to the scene.

Officials said the fire started in the basement of the facility at 510 River Road. The fire was extinguished by early Thursday, but fire crews remained on scene checking the building for hot spots and damage.

About 50 employees were inside the factory when the fire started, but were able to get out, officials said.

Route 110 was closed in the area as of about 7 a.m. Thursday. Police said the situation is still "fluid" and road closures could change. Portions of Constitution Boulevard South and Rocky Rest Road were also closed. Motorists are advised to avoid the area, police said.

The factory belongs to Latex International, a manufacturer of latex foam mattresses and rubber latex for other mattress and pillow manufacturers, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this month.

The company was previously located at a building in Ansonia, but a massive fire in 2001 gutted the facility and forced the owners to find a new location. They reopened in Shelton almost a year to the day after the fire destroyed their 284,000 square-foot building.

The 2001 fire started in a large oven used to dry the mattresses and pillows made with latex foam. When maintenance workers opened the oven's panels, smoldering chemicals in the exhaust quickly burst into flames, fed by the new oxygen source.

Fox CT contributed to this report.

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