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Malloy, Himes and DeLauro Praise Shelton Firefighters, Pledge Help for Downtown

An office for loan information could open in City Hall by Wednesday.

The Jan. 6 fire that destroyed a Downtown building has shown the true spirit of cooperation between neighbors and state and local governments.

Displaced residents and businesspeople can apply for low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration.

Gov. Dannel Malloy spoke at the Echo Hose Firehouse on Coram Avenue Jan. 25, along with State reps. Jim Himes and Rosa DeLauro, who share Shelton in their districts.

"I want to thank the first responders," Malloy said. "I want to thank all of you at the fire department."

"We obviously cannot turn back the clock," but the state stands behind the residents and the businesses, Malloy said. Then he announced the availability of Small Business Administration loans to the businesspeople and assistance for the residents of the 20 apartments that were destroyed.

The low interest loans can be as much as $40,000 for renters and $2 million for businesses with interest rates between 2 and 4 percent.

DeLauro recalled the "outpouring of love" immediately after the fire, when donations of clothing and food poured into the firehouse. DeLauro was among the volunteers sorting through them.

Eventually, donations were moved out of the firehouse and furniture donations were accepted in another Downtown Shelton space.

"You're not alone. We will rebuild," DeLauro said.

Some residents, such as Linda Roback and her daughter, "left with nothing but the pajamas on their backs," she added.

Malloy said he comes from a family of firefighters, adding that he understands the worries and fears that accompany the job. There were minor injuries from the fire.

Mayor Mark Lauretti was optimistic about the future. "As one door closes, another door opens. There'll be opportunities coming out of this," he said.

He called the cooperation between the city and state and federal government "working at its finest."

Firefighter Chris Jones noted that they are still sorting through donated furniture.

Since Jan. 6, the fire department has been particularly busy, with six structure fires, including one that killed a man at 593 Howe Ave.

Meanwhile, two Downtown businesspeople with damaged shops said they are exploring how to proceed. They need to wait for the building owners' insurance company to conclude its business. 

Jay Pater ran Howe Convenient, which was destroyed, and Michelle Bialek ran Liquid Lunch, which is still standing.

"We really want to do something, especially Downtown," Bialek said. "We have a lot of opportunity and a lot of ideas."

Liquid Lunch has two other locations, on Research Drive in Shelton and on Broad Street in Milford.
infidel81 January 28, 2014 at 05:40 PM
How nice to see the Three Stooges visit town!

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