‘I felt the heat.’ Neighbors recount scary moments as Watertown storage facility burned

A fire destroyed a large storage facility in Watertown on Saturday morning, according to fire officials.

Tom Krosnowski and Robyn Karashik

Mar 10, 2024, 10:17 PM

Updated 39 days ago


A fire destroyed a large storage facility in Watertown on Saturday morning, according to fire officials.
The fire happened on Northfield Road around 6:37 a.m. and took firefighters from both Watertown and Bethlehem about 40 minutes to get it under control.
Neighbors spoke with News 12 Connecticut’s Tom Krosnowksi about how the fire reached their property and how lucky they felt that it was put out when it was.
“Look at that smoke. That smoke was so black, it came over the house for a little while. You couldn’t see nothing,” said Howard Picard, who lives next to the storage building.
Howard and Diane Picard didn’t budge when they heard a boom early Saturday morning. They said it wasn’t too different from typical hunting sounds. When they heard another, they looked outside.
“Fire coming out of there like you wouldn’t believe. I tried to get a little closer, but I felt the heat, so I backed up,” said Picard.
The Picards have lived on Northfield Road for 47 years. The neighboring building stood far before that and was most recently used as a storage facility.
Among the damage – modern construction vehicles, classic cars and parts, clothing, antiques and a boat.
The smell of smoke lingered in the air Sunday, as well as a chemical odor. The neighbors said the area was used to store pool chemicals, which they heard popping during the blaze.
“Aerosol cans, stuff like that probably. I don’t know, but it was loud,” said Picard.
He also said officials tested the water and air and told him it was safe. His property only suffered minor damage.
“A few guys came up quick and right away, they were over here hosing down my garage. They’re fast and it’s a volunteer fire department,” said Picard.
Local and state fire marshals are investigating what may have sparked the blaze. Many in town are seeking answers and checking out the damage themselves.
“They drive by slowly and look. Can’t blame them,” said Picard.
The fire department confirmed everything inside was lost. There were no injuries reported.

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