The "gunshots" that led to the lockdown of a Naugatuck elementary school Wednesday morning turned out to be fireworks that were lit by Naugatuck Public Works employees, according to several sources close to the investigation.
Naugatuck's Andrew Avenue Elementary School was locked down for about an hour Wednesday after neighbors reported hearing gunshots nearby at 8:55 a.m.
In a statement released today, Naugatuck Police Lt. Bryan Cammarata said, "A thorough check of the area was conducted by Naugatuck police officers and, as a precaution, due to its close proximity to the event, Andrew Avenue School was notified and locked down."
The Naugatuck Police Department initially thought the gunshots could have been those of a hunter in the nearby woods, but later determined they were fireworks.
"It was determined early on by police that no threat to the school existed and upon completion of the search, the lock down at Andrew Avenue School was lifted," he said.
The investigation into the incident is ongoing, Cammarata said.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday afternoon, several sources close to the investigation told Patch that Naugatuck Public Works employees were responsible for lighting the fireworks that led to the lockdown.
When asked about the accusation, Cammarata would not comment.
Naugatuck DPW Superintendent Jim Stewart would neither confirm nor deny the validity of the allegations and offered no further comment when reached by phone Wednesday afternoon.
The DPW offices are about one-third of a mile down hill from the elementary school. Sources said the DPW employees lit what is called a "fireworks cake," which has the ability to shoot dozens of fireworks off in succession.
They said the first three shots were booming and sounded like gunshots, and that they appeared to have come from the area near the Parks and Recreation department at 258 Rubber Ave.
After the 8:55 a.m. report of gunshots, several police officers rushed to the elementary school, at 140 Andrew Ave. The school has students in grades K through 4; those in grades 3 and 4 were scheduled to take the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) on Wednesday.
An officer was stationed at the school until the last bell to make sure everything was OK and to make students and staff feel comfortable, police said.
Naugatuck Patch will continue to bring you updates on this developing story.