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Heavy Flames, Smoke Mark Norwalk Fire

This story was updated at 1:31 p.m. March 29

NORWALK, Conn. – Firefighting crews were faced with intense flames Wednesday afternoon when they arrived at t Lajoies Auto Wrecking and Scrap Recycling , as photographs provided by the Norwalk Fire Department show.

Deputy Chief Christopher King sent out four photographs of the blaze framed by various aspects of the debris at the salvage business at 40 Meadow St. at about 7 p.m.

The fire was reported to the dispatch center by multiple 911 calls at 1:45 p.m., King said. It was placed under control at 3:08 p.m.

The intense fire took place in a two-story sheet metal building, which measured 60 feet by 60 feet, King said. Inside this building was a metal shredder, which LaJoies used to separate metal, plastics and any other material inside a car and sort into piles for recycling.

The metal separator is run by a diesel train locomotive that was converted to power the unit. A 9,000-gallon storage tank for diesel fuel was in the area of the fire along with numerous propane, acetylene and oxygen tanks. Fire crews initially worked to ensure that the flammable tanks were kept cool to prevent explosions, King said. Aerial master streams were used to knock down the bulk of the fire, then smaller hoses were used to put out any remaining flames.

All of Norwalk's 32 on-duty firefighters responded to the scene with five engines, two trucks and a rescue and command car. A ladder truck from Stamford also responded to the scene. Mutual aid was used to cover the city fire stations to ensure that the city was protected. Westport, New Canaan and Rowayton sent engines into Norwalk.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Environmental Protection Agency were also called to the scene to check the area for toxic runoff or airborne hazards. Area storm drains were vacuumed to ensure that diesel or other contaminants didn't make it into any waterways or Long Island Sound. Initial reports from the EPA said the area was safe, King said.

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