Blaze engulfs landmark Kloter Farms store
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Ellington - posted Wed., Jun. 29, 2011
Fire tore through the main building of the Kloter Farms store at the corner of Routes 83 and 286 early Wednesday.
One of the store's employees was inside when the fire broke out, but was able to exit quickly, and no one was harmed, but the retail portion of the business was completely ruined.
Ellington Volunteer Fire Department Deputy Chief John Turner said the call came at 6:53 a.m. from employees, and that was quickly followed by an alert from an alarm company.
“The fire extended very quickly,” said Turner. “The fire units arrived within five minutes of the time of dispatch to find the building heavily involved with fire, heavy with smoke. We tried to do an interior attack to hold it, but the fire was too far ahead of us. We took a defensive mode, and we were able to cut the fire off at the main building.”
Turner said his crew worked very hard to keep the fire from spreading to the other buildings and numerous other mostly-wooden structures on the property.
“We were fortunate to be able to stop it where we did,” he said.
As of 11 a.m. Wednesday, the fire department was assisting the fire marshal in investigating the cause of the blaze, Turner said.
He added that the landmark, family-owned business which sells outdoor structures and furnishings is very popular, and the loss is large for Ellington.
“Some people know Ellington just for this location,” Turner said. “It's a large fire and a large loss, dollar-wise, so it's going to be investigated very carefully.”
Todd Root, the director of marketing for Kloter Farms, said the dollar value is hard to assess, but that the company is fully insured.
“I don't even have an estimation,” Root said. “It's fair to say that most of the store is impacted by the fire.”
Root said the outdoor-fixture part of the business was unaffected, and remained open for business Wednesday.
“We actually have customers coming and going,” he said.
Root said he expected that the retail portion of the business would open, in some capacity, on Thursday.
“Obviously, it won't be in that building,” he said. “We have 16 acres here, so it will be in another portion of our property. We are planning to rebuild. We've got work to do to make that happen, but that is our plan.”
Root said the support from employees, friends and neighbors, as well as the Ellington and Vernon fire departments, had been great in the hours after the fire.
Root said the amount of hardwood products in the store likely contributed to the fire spreading quickly.
“All the dining sets, bedroom sets, upholstered furniture and things like that absolutely fueled the fire,” Root said, adding that the building itself was “fairly new.”
“We see it as a difficult day, but we're really confident that we can rebuild this,” he said, “and it’s just turning a page into a new chapter.”
Routes 83 and 286 near the property were closed until about 10:45 a.m. Wednesday.