Loans on the way, but Shelton fire victims still in limbo

Gov. Dannel Malloy and several other local politicos were in Shelton on Saturday to announce loans for small businesses affected by the large fire and building collapse on Howe Avenue earlier this month.

The governor said the federal Small Business Administration will have an office set up by Wednesday in Shelton’s city hall where business owners can file applications and begin the paperwork for the low-interest disaster loans.

The dignitaries also praised Shelton firefighters for taking down the flames and for coordinating a relief operation to get the large amount of donated clothes, food and other items out to the victims.

None of the business owners spoke at the podium for Saturday’s event. But in interviews they said they’re still reeling from the fire, even after all of the donations.

Michele and Fred Bialek own the Liquid Lunch restaurant and their Howe Avenue location was closed because of smoke and water damage from the blaze. Michele Bialek said Saturday that she hasn’t been able to retrieve anything from the damaged building except some artwork. Cookbooks, furniture and other supplies all remain inside the boarded-up building.

She said a disaster loan might be helpful, but she’s still working with insurance companies to figure out what the company’s next step is–in addition to running Liquid Lunch’s other Shelton location.

Wes Duplantier