New London — City police joined the fire marshal Tuesday evening in an investigation into what appears to be a suspicious fire that prompted an evacuation at the offices of The Day newspaper.
Fire crews responded to an alarm at 6:21 p.m. and entered the rear of the building from Atlantic Street to find a smoke-filled hallway and a small fire burning on the mezzanine level near the production area.
Fire Battalion Chief Edward Sargent said sprinklers had knocked down most of the flame and firefighters took care of the rest. The fire appears to have originated above a metal cabinet against the wall in a hallway. The fire had scorched a portion of the wall and ceiling.
Firefighters ventilated the smoke from the building and used tarps to cover pallets of newspaper inserts below where the fire occurred. The hallway and nearby maintenance office were flooded with water, which seeped through to the ground level.
No injuries were reported, and Day staff members were allowed back into the building less than an hour later.
Fire Marshal Calvin Darrow later met with police in the vicinity of where the fire occurred, behind an area cordoned off by yellow crime scene tape.
Darrow said the cause of the fire remains under investigation and, as is protocol, would remain a crime scene until proven otherwise.
Day maintenance supervisor Mike Gentry said most of the Sunday inserts below the fire remained undamaged.
"Luckily (the firefighters) had tarps. I think they prevented substantial damage," Gentry said.
Darrow said the Connecticut FAIR Plan, representing the insurance industry, sponsors the Connecticut Arson Tip Award Program and offers up to $2,500 rewards for information on intentionally set fires.
The toll-free arson hot line is (800) 84ARSON or (800) 842-7766.