Busi­ness to re­open af­ter Clarke fire

In­ter­face Dy­nam­ics to restart work while ATP looks for new home

The News-Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Julia Perkins

BETHEL — One busi­ness is get­ting back on its feet, while an­other is still in limbo af­ter Sun­day’s mas­sive fire at Clarke Busi­ness Park.

In­ter­sur­face Dy­nam­ics ex­pects to restart pro­duc­tion on Wed­nes­day, while ATP, a com­pany that man­u­fac­tures ad­he­sive tape, con­tin­ues to look for a new space af­ter a blaze that more than 100 fire­fight­ers bat­tled for about eight hours Sun­day.

The front of the Fran­cis J. Clarke Cir­cle build­ing, where ATP was lo­cated, was gut­ted, but the back, which is home to In­ter­sur­face Dy­nam­ics, was pro­tected by a fire­wall and suf­fered only wa­ter and smoke dam­age.

“We’re up and go­ing,” said Jon Wolk, one of the own­ers of both the build­ing and busi­ness, as crews from Servpro cleaned In­ter­sur­face Dy­nam­ics’ space on Tues­day af­ter­noon.

Mean­while, work­ers from ATP pulled files from in­side the build­ing Tues­day. The owner of the com­pany said Mon­day he was “dev­as­tated” by the fire, but planned to con­tinue to pay his em­ploy­ees.

The town’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor is re­search­ing spa­ces where

ATP could re­open.

“That’s their big­gest pri­or­ity right now,” said Jan­ice Chrzesci­janek, di­rec­tor of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. “But as other things come up, we’re go­ing to help them with what­ever they need.”

In­spec­tors from the state De­part­ment of En­ergy and En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion were at the site Tues­day to mon­i­tor disposal of any chem­i­cals on the prop­erty.

The de­part­ment still needs to iden­tify those chem­i­cals, but they are ex­pected to be stan­dard chem­i­cals found in a print­ing busi­ness, such as ink, dyes or ad­he­sives, said Mark Liano, an emer­gency re­sponse co­or­di­na­tor with DEEP.

Any toxic or haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als would have been dis­cov­ered dur­ing the fire, he said.

“We’re just deal­ing with reg­u­lar in­dus­trial chem­i­cals, noth­ing out of the or­di­nary,” Liano said.

The build­ing was con­structed in 1987, ac­cord­ing to prop­erty records, mak­ing it likely one of the first build­ings in the in­dus­trial park, Chrzesci­janek said.

In­ter­sur­face Dy­nam­ics moved into the space in 1997, while ATP has been there for 16 years, the own­ers of the com­pa­nies said.

In­ter­sur­face Dy­nam­ics makes high-tech de­ter­gents sold across the world, par­tic­u­larly in Asia, Wolk said. The com­pany had ex­ist­ing stock that was not de­stroyed in the fire, so the busi­ness has not been too badly af­fected yet, he said.

“We’ve just got to get on things quickly,” he said.

Wolk said he plans to re­con­struct the front of the build­ing, but this will likely take time.

Busi­nesses sur­round­ing the prop­erty, in­clud­ing Base Tech­nolo­gies next door, were not af­fected by the blaze, said Mike Boyle, owner of Base Tech­nolo­gies and chair of the Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion.

Nor will the fire af­fect the plans to ex­pand Clarke Busi­ness Park down Trow­bridge Drive, which is off Fran­cis J. Clarke Cir­cle, he said. This project has been in the works for sev­eral years to add busi­nesses to the full park.

The town has ap­plied for a state grant to cover half the cost to add the in­fra­struc­ture, in­clud­ing the sewer line, on Trow­bridge Drive for four new lots, he said. A state grant al­ready cov­ered half the cost to de­sign the project.

Work is roughly es­ti­mated at $800,000 to $900,000, but the town will soon re­quest bids from com­pa­nies for the project, Boyle said. The new busi­nesses are ex­pected to bring in $132,000 a year in tax rev­enue to the town, of­fi­cials have es­ti­mated.

“Busi­ness has been pretty good for most of the busi­nesses here,” Boyle said. “We’re anx­ious to fin­ish up the lots and con­tinue to see this park grow and con­trib­ute to the tax base in town.”

The in­fra­struc­ture would be added in the fall at the ear­li­est, next spring at the lat­est, Chrzesci­janek said. Com­pa­nies would then con­struct their build­ings.

One of the new lots would prob­a­bly not be a good op­tion for ATP, un­less the com­pany wanted to move into a tem­po­rary space be­fore pur­chas­ing a per­ma­nent prop­erty in the park, Chrzesci­janek said.

“The tim­ing prob­a­bly wouldn’t work out for them,” she said.

H John Voorhees III / Hearst Connecticu­t Me­dia

A build­ing at 21 Fran­cis J. Clarke Cir­cle was dam­aged in a fire on Sun­day. The build­ing in Fran­cis J. Clarke In­dus­trial Park is home to In­ter­sur­face Dy­nam­ics and ATP, an ad­he­sive tape com­pany.

H John Voorhees III / Hearst Connecticu­t Me­dia

Wal­ter Wolk, owner of the build­ing at 21 Fran­cis J. Clarke Cir­cle, which was dam­aged in a fire on Sun­day. The build­ing, in Fran­cis J. Clarke In­dus­trial Park, is home to In­ter­sur­face Dy­nam­ics and ATP, an ad­he­sive tape com­pany. Wolk is the owner of the busi­ness In­ter­sur­face, which is lo­cated in the build­ing.

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