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STANWADE METAL PRODUCTS Company suffers losses in fire, but a Christmas cactus survives



Published: Thu, June 16, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The plant will no longer produce 275-gallon basement heating oil tanks.

By MONICA BOND

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

HARTFORD -- Although a major fire at Stanwade Metal Products destroyed one complex and the home in front of the business, a 100-year-old Christmas cactus survived the flames.

Timothy K. Woofter, Stanwade president, said the cactus belonged to his maternal grandmother.

"My mother's mother had it before she died, and now my mother takes care of it," he said. "She babies it."

The cactus was moved to a bedroom in the fall, and each spring came down to a corner of the porch, Woofter said.

"After the firefighters were done, I went around to see if they'd damaged the cactus. It was fine, and I moved it to make sure no one trampled it," he said.

The cause of the June 10 fire at Stanwade, 6868 state Route 305, is not yet determined, but the fire marshal said it was accidental, Woofter said.

Besides the cactus, the family was able to save many pictures, Woofter said.

Damage estimates are not yet finished, but Woofter said damage from the fire will be greater than half a million dollars.

The home in front of Stanwade, where Woofter's mother lived, must be torn down. His mother was not injured, although it was a very emotional loss.

"She raised seven children in that house," he said. "I remember when I was growing up, there were 11 people in that house: two parents, seven children, an uncle, and a grandmother, with one bathroom and no lock on the front door."

The company's damaged area -- a four-building complex -- was used for making 275-gallon basement heating oil tanks.

Woofter said the company has eliminated production of the tanks, which was about 15 percent of the its business. He has laid off one person and may have to lay off more because of the fire.

"We'll be quite a bit short on insurance, but we'll get through," he said.




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