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Ignited wax identified as preliminary cause of massive fire

<i>Great Hill Hose County/WFSB</i><br/>Officials say spilled wax sparked a large fire in downtown Seymour.
Great Hill Hose Co./WFSB
Great Hill Hose County/WFSB
Officials say spilled wax sparked a large fire in downtown Seymour.

By Audrey Russo, Rob Polansky and Courtney Zieller

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    SEYMOUR, Connecticut (WFSB) — The town of Seymour picked up the pieces on Thursday, the day after a massive fire swept through a building.

Several businesses were burned in the building on 4 Bank St.

Preliminary findings, according to the Great Hill Hose Company, appear to indicate that the fire was a result of a store employee accidentally igniting wax while polishing some merchandise. It said the investigation will be ongoing.

Emma Trepca owns a nearby building.

“We own the property right behind it. I think everything is ok but all our tenants, they aren’t there anymore. Even myself I live over there too,” Trepca said.

More than a dozen tenants are currently displaced and living with family.

“We aren’t allowed to go in because they’re going to test to make sure it’s safe,” said Trepca.

The fire started shortly after 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday.

The building was deemed a total loss.

“Two firefighters were treated on scene for minor injuries and one tenant was evaluated,” the fire company said.

Channel 3 spoke with one of the business owners about the damage and seeing their livelihood destroyed.

In the daylight of Thursday, the sun could be seen streaming through what used to be the roof that covered the building in the area of Main and Bank streets.

Byron Duta, owner of the Fade Away Barbershop, said there’s a lot of damage that still needs to be surveyed. He also said there are a lot of meetings with insurance companies ahead, and he’s wondering how he’s going to rebuild.

“I put a lot of hard work and sacrifice into the barbershop that I opened,” Dutan said. “I was in business a year and 6 months.”

Dutan said he just received a new haircut from one of his workers Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, it was the last haircut there,” he said.

His shop was ruined when the massive fire broke out on Wednesday.

Firefighters spent the afternoon putting out the flames.

“I’ve been cutting hair in the valley for like 14 years, so this was my first time I decided to do my own thing and open up my own shop,” Dutan said.

All his employees got out safely, but it was clear in the moment the fire was spreading fast.

“It was too smoked up, it was too late for everything,” Dutan said. “It just sucks the way everything went down.”

Several other businesses in that building were in the same boat. They assessed damage and tried to figure out their next move.

No serious injuries were reported.

“It’s heart wrenching to see it the way it is,” said George Bashura Jr. of Seymour.

The damage weighed heavily on others in town, including Bashura. He said he remembers growing up in his family’s shoe repair shop that once occupied one of the now-destroyed storefronts decades ago.

He said those memories went up in smoke.

“It’s like part of the family’s gone, you know?” Bashura said.

Current business owners said they hope that same loyalty from the community will follow them wherever their next step leads.

“Start over, but start stronger than ever,” Dutan said.

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