Firefighters battle large fire in Stratford commercial building

STRATFORD - A devastating fire leveled a business in Stratford Monday morning.

But, it could have have been a whole lot worse.

There's nothing left of Soundsphere, a speaker manufacturer, at 10 Research Drive and some 50 people were evacuated from surrounding businesses. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

"I was in that office there and that fire was at that corner over there," said Phil Abenante, the lone employee inside Soundsphere, when the fire broke out at just after 6 a.m.

"If it happened when everybody was in there, I don’t know," said Abenante, who was looking on as firefighters doused the building with 3,000 gallons of water per minute.

He said he was unaware there was a fire until someone banged on the front office door.

"This is my home," said the 17 year assembler, for the company, which employed four people at the nearly 13,000 square foot Stratford building.

Monday afternoon, to uncover any hidden fire, a backhoe leveled Soundsphere, which makes omnidirectional speakers.

"Some of their speakers are actually in our fire houses that we use for alerting us for calls," said Asst. Chief Michael Camperlengo, of the Stratford Fire Department.

While the origin and cause are still unknown, the Stratford Fire Department said a flammable chemical, acetone, an active ingredient in such things as paint thinner and nail polish remover, is also used by this business.

"The United States Coast Guard first response team has been notified due to the run off coming from the fire," said Camperlengo.

But, the chemicals were largely dissipated thanks to over 1 million gallons of water used to fight the fire. And, other area businesses feel fortunate.

"We’ve got chemicals and all those things, so there would’ve been quite an issue had that have happened," said Bob Bradley, the Owner of York Analytical Laboratories, also on Research Drive.

He heard about the fire on the radio and alerted his lone employee in the building.

He was in the rear of the building and he comes out and he said 'oh my God.' And the flames are shooting up and smoke," said Bradley.

According to a fire official, Stratford Economic Development has already begun to work with Soundsphere to find a new location in town.