Willimantic fire officially under control, work far from over

WILLIMANTIC -- The four alarm fire that broke out at a waste management plant in Willimantic over the weekend is officially under control but the work is far from over.

"One of the firefighters asked me this morning what's left there chief, what do we need to go find," says Willimantic Fire Chief Marc Scrivener. "Well it is under snow, it’s not exactly clear."

Snowfall Monday night ended up being both a blessing and a curse for firefighters who worked to put out the blaze at Willi Waste that continued to smolder throughout Monday.

“It is a mixed blessing," says Scrivener. "The snow will lay a nice blanket on what remains of that building and the rubble piles but also we have to go clean up... I think we picked up most of it yesterday but there may be some things that are under snow right now that we can’t find... hoses, appliances, tools."

Early Tuesday morning, fire fighters handed over the reins to the owners of the waste management facility.

"The Devivos were left with hoses to be able to spray... one pile they’re going to be tearing apart throughout the course of the day if things flare up at all they’ll obviously call us," says Windham Public Information Officer, Matthew Vertefeuille. "But they should have things under control at this point."

But before that point, first responders worked round the clock to contain the blaze, community members took note, and stepped in to help.

"The food kept coming, Tony's Pizza, Blondie's, Dunkin Donuts just kept bringing food to us for my crews as we downsized our operations yesterday through the evening," says Scrivener. "We are really appreciative for what they offered, we have a great community here, and they really support us."

The state and local fire marshals will continue their investigation into finding a cause as local officials and DEEP monitor environmental factors as well.

"We are going to be monitoring water quality in the Willimantic River where the runoff from the site came," says Vertefeuille.

Those results are expected within 24 hours, officials say the next steps will be determined from that point, and for Willi Waste, the focus is on rebuilding.

"We will be working with the Devivo family pretty closely on, not only getting the building demoed, and a new building built, but we will be working with them immediately to try to get their new offices, which were under construction at the time of the fire to get them up and running," says Vertefeuille.