Fire in Greenwich claims businesses, apartments in alleged arson
News 10 ABC
Greenwich police are calling a fire that destroyed businesses and left several people without a place to live an arson. They say the fire in the historic building at 126 Main Street was deliberately set by a California man staying with family in a second-story apartment.
Sgt. Robert Danko of the Cambridge-Greenwich Police said his office was taking calls from dispatch on Sunday around 12:10 p.m. about a man who jumped out a second-story window and took off from the scene. He said that witnesses identified the man as John M. Fox.
The same witnesses claimed Fox had deliberately started the fire. Danko says officers were able to locate Fox in a nearby cornfield with the assistance of a K-9. He was arrested and arraigned on charges of arson, reckless engagement, and criminal mischief.
Eight residents lost their apartments and possession in the blaze, and three business owners were left with nothing. Danko says the motive may have been fallout after a night of partying and an argument between Fox and a cousin.
Clifford Oliver Mealy's photography studio and all his equipment went up in flames. It wasn’t just his cameras, gear, and photographs that were lost. He has been in the business for 50 years and says he was currently working on a client’s family photos.
"Digitizing family photos and they’re lost," Mealy said. "I am feeling sorry for myself. But there are six apartments in there. I gotta say, after this [fire], I could go home. They couldn't go home."
The community is now wrapping its arms around people like Clifford. Liv Thygesen, president of the Greater Greenwich Chamber of Commerce says her office is working to connect residents and business owners who are displaced with services.
Thygesen says they are also accepting donations. "Things to really get you back on your feet. Small appliances. That type of an item that they can bring directly here to 6 Academy Street in Greenwich," she adds.
As for Mealy, he luckily left two cameras with him at home, which he is using to capture his own story. "Maybe God set me up for something else. But then, I'm like, 'No.' He left me with two cameras," Mealy said. "It’s just a new way of doing things."