JP Maguire Associates in Waterbury, recognized as Connecticut’s oldest and most experienced independently-owned disaster cleaning and property reconstruction and restoration professionals, has been contracted to restore one of the most historic one-family-continuously-owned buildings in downtown Bethel. The 177-year-old commercial and residential building at 178 Greenwood Avenue was heavily damaged by a 1:00 a.m. fire July 13, 2017.
Jim Maguire, JP Maguire Associates Founder and Owner, and a Newtown resident since 1978 stated, “Eight families became homeless, and several businesses were displaced. It took more than 100 firefighters from the Bethel, Stony Hill, and several other volunteer fire departments three hours to put the fire out.” Ten adults, including one disabled man who could not walk, and five children in upstairs apartments, escaped with the help of three policemen who crawled through heavy smoke to ensure everyone’s safe escape.
A July 13, 2017 “CT Post” article quoted Bethel Volunteer Fire Chief Scott Murphy as saying that the construction methods used to build the structure in 1840 were so outdated that there were voids in the walls that allowed firefighters to “rip down the ceilings and walls with their hands to get to the fire. “Thanks to a brick wall at the building’s western end, the fire did not spread to the adjacent Opera House building. But apartments in the adjoining building were damaged by smoke and water.”
Hired by the buildings’ owners, family members Judy Staib and Micheal Norkowski, JP Maguire Associates began the predicted eight-months-long process of restoring the building. Brian Glasser, JP Maguire Associates Director of Business Development, explained, “Once the fire was extinguished and the State Police Fire Marshals completed their investigation, JP Maguire began by boarding up and securing the windows and roof where several holes were cut to vent the fire.
“While the building suffered extensive damage, it was necessary to secure the building from further damage from the elements and prevent anyone unauthorized from entering the building. These are called ‘emergency services’ in the insurance industry and a service JP Maguire provides 24 hours every day anywhere in Connecticut. Most people don’t know this service is required by most insurance companies, policyholders have an obligation to mitigate the damage immediately.”
The next step was to remove the tenants’ personal items and property. “Unfortunately, most of the property was too far damaged to be salvaged or cleaned. In many instances, JP Maguire can clean clothing, furniture, and other personal items within our facility.
“The cleaning process removes soot and smoke smell making it virtually impossible to tell that the clothing, furniture or personal property were in a fire. These cleaning services are paid for under a policyholder’s content coverage. Unsalvageable items are ‘totaled’ and the policyholder works with their insurance company to put a value on these items for reimbursement.”
Glasser continued, “After all the tenants’ personal property was removed, we began removing the building’s interior walls, ceilings, carpeting etc. When a fire is being extinguished, there is water. While fire and smoke cause tremendous damage, the damage a building suffers from water can be worse if that water is not removed and the building not dried correctly. Aside from structural damage, mold could form within a few days, which causes a significant health hazard.”
At that point in the Bethel project process, work temporarily stopped until the insurance company’s adjusters could determine the cost of the damage. Glasser reported, “Due to the extensive damage, the insurance company decided to total the building. Having been in one family for over 140 years there was no question the family would rebuild, the challenge was how.
“Due to the age and condition of the building, it needed to be torn down and rebuilt from scratch. But, because the building is attached to an adjacent building and both buildings are immediately on Greenwood Avenue, the historic building could not safely be torn down with a machine. JP Maguire will tear down the building piece-by-piece by hand to the first floor where we will reconstruct the building to house two street-level commercial properties plus four fully-updated two-bedroom apartments.
JP Maguire Associates has been conducting disaster cleanup and damage restoration services across Connecticut since 1982. They offer 24/7 statewide emergency services and are prepared to respond within one to two hours of an emergency via personnel and equipment strategically positioned across the state. A Better Business A+ rated company, JP Maguire’s services include restoration of commercial and municipal properties, private homes, and buildings due to fire, flood, water damage and biohazards. Their highly-trained and certified professionals board up, tear down and reconstruct damaged buildings; clean up death, crime and trauma scenes; remove and abate mold and asbestos.
In the 1970s Jim Maguire began his entrepreneurial business as an electrical contractor and home builder. After partnering with his brother Tom, they started painting for a restoration cleaning company. They created relationships with a network of insurance adjusters and acquired a notable quantity of insurance-related work allowing the size, geographic reach, and complexity of the brothers’ services to grow.
After Tom Maguire left the company to pursue real estate development and home construction, Jim Maguire began JP Maguire Associates in 1982 as a sole proprietor utilizing employees and subcontractors. Until 2001, the business was only a reconstruction contractor, which left the cleaning and mitigation work to other companies. In 2002, Jim Maguire expanded the business from their 7,500 square foot facility in Newtown to a 37,000 square foot facility in Waterbury located immediately off Interstate 84 and Route 8. This location serves as corporate headquarters for rapid dispatch of personnel for disaster cleanup needs plus a mitigation, cleaning, restoration, and storage facility.
Today, JP Maguire Associates employs a thoroughly-trained, experienced staff of 60 to handle damages to schools, institutions, commercial and private properties, apartments and other facilities. Utilizing state-of-the-art equipment, their personnel are ready 24/7 to respond to clean up any hazard/trauma scene plus effectively decontaminate, disinfect, deodorize and restore soft contents of homes or commercial properties.
Jim Maguire commented, “For JP Maguire employees, this is more than a job, it’s a lifestyle. We are not a corporate behemoth or a franchise. We are large enough to handle all of our clients’ problems and small enough to care. Our company slogan is, “Just make it go away….We can.” In 2016 the company was recognized as a “Top Work Place” by Connecticut’s Hearst Media Services.