Category Archives: Fires


Gun shop fire on Elm Street

Vyto Starinskas / Staff Photo  Rutland City firefighters prepare to battle a fire in a garage that houses a gun shop behind a home on Elm Street in Rutland on Tuesday. Smoke could be seen and throughout the downtown area.

Vyto Starinskas / Staff Photo
Rutland City firefighters prepare to battle a fire in a garage that houses a gun shop behind a home on Elm Street in Rutland on Tuesday. Smoke could be seen and throughout the downtown area.

Fire crews are responding to a 3-alarm fire at a gun shop on Elm Street, and are using precautions because of the likelihood of ammunition stored in the shop.

Donna LaRose, who lives across the street, was alarmed to see the fire in the shed behind King’s house a little before 8 a.m.

“I see smoke, flames, shooting out over there,” she said. “I came out and screamed, ‘somebody call 9-1-1!’”

Other neighbors knocked on the door to the Kings to warn them, and multiple fire engines responded to the street and began to set up hoses with precautions taken because of the threat of ammo in the building.

According to Mayor Christopher Louras, who walked down to check on the fire, the precautions were part of a protocol followed by the fire department in these cases.

According to neighbors, King’s gun shop has been in business around 40 years; the owner, Gerald King, lives in the house adjacent to the shop, which is housed in a shed to the rear of the house. King is retired, but still does some work on guns.

Firefighters look for cause of Wendy’s restaurant fire

ESSEX JUNCTION — Firefighters are trying to fire out what caused a fire at a Wendy’s restaurant in Essex Junction, Vt.
Deputy Fire Chief Phil Noyes said he believes Wednesday’s fire started in a rooftop vent unit in the kitchen, but added that wasn’t the conclusion yet. The fire was between the ceiling and the roof.
The Burlington Free Press reports ( Noyes said a handful of employees were inside the restaurant preparing to open when the fire broke out at about 8:45 a.m.
No one was injured.

Cigarette starts motel fire

COLCHESTER — Firefighters say a cigarette started a fire at a motel in Colchester, Vt.
The fire happened at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday at a Motel 6.
WCAX-TV reports ( the Colchester fire chief says about 35 firefighters from three departments responded to the fire. He said a person staying at the motel fell asleep while smoking a cigarette and set a mattress on fire.
The guest was taken to the hospital with burns to his body and face, and was listed in serious condition. The motel was evacuated.

Fire burns Mt. Holly home; residents displaced

Vyto Starinskas / Staff PhotoA house was destroyed by a fire on Tuesday morning on Nichols Road in Mount Holly.

Vyto Starinskas / Staff Photo
A house was destroyed by a fire on Tuesday morning on Nichols Road in Mount Holly.

A home was destroyed by fire in Mount Holly this morning, although no residents were injured, according to a firefighter at the scene. The American Red Cross has responded to aid the displaced residents, and said in a news release that 3 or 4 people have been left homeless by the fire.

Firefighters at scene of fire on Lake Dunmore

Brandon and Pittsford fire departments are on the scene of a fire at a home on Lake Dunmore. The fire was reported around 11 a.m. on Indian Trail Road in Leicester. The fire appears to have caused severe damage to the inside of the building, but the structure is still standing.
There was no immediate word on injuries.
Fire officials plan to release more information on the fire later today.

Driver hurt trying to save dogs from burning bus

SOUTH BURLINGTON — Vermont police say a bus driver for a day care for dogs has suffered burns while trying to save canines trapped after the vehicle caught on fire.
The driver rescued one dog, but another died.
Police say a 911 call was made Tuesday afternoon reporting a small bus on fire in a South Burlington parking lot.
Police say the driver of the Gulliver’s Doggie Daycare bus saved one dog before the vehicle was consumed by blames. Authorities say the animals were scared and resisted the driver’s attempts to help them.
Police say the driver, John Thamann of Jericho, suffered burns to his hands, head and back. The first responding officer suffered smoke inhalation while trying to enter the bus.
The blaze’s cause appears to be vehicle mechanical failure.

Fire department loses equipment to massive fire

ST. JOHNSBURY — A Vermont fire department is hoping its insurance company will pay to replace equipment lost fighting a blaze that heavily damaged a downtown St. Johnsbury building.
Fire Chief Troy Ruggles says firefighters had to abandon hoses, tools and one of its four thermal imaging cameras when they had to flee the 1879 Building on Railroad Street during the Dec. 23 blaze after they were trapped by a wall of fire.
Ruggles told the town select board the thermal camera was the most expensive item lost. It cost about $10,000 new.
The Caledonian Record ( ) reports it’s not clear yet whether the gutted structure will have to be torn down or whether it can be saved.

Berlin home a total loss after fire

Mark Collier / Staff photoFirefighters train water on a burning home in Berlin on Wednesday night.

Mark Collier / Staff photo
Firefighters train water on a burning home in Berlin on Wednesday night. For a complete photo gallery, please click here.

BERLIN — A fire destroyed a four-and-half-story barn and historical home at the Towne-Ayr farm on Three Mile Bridge Road late Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, it’s an old house, and old barns go up very fast,” Berlin Fire Chief Miles Silk Jr. said. “(The barn) was almost on the ground when East Montpelier [Fire Dept.] got here, and they’re closer than we are.”

Passerbys on Interstate 89 could see the fire, which eventually leveled the barn and home, both built in the 1800s. Dispatchers first heard the call around 8:43 p.m., and fire crews worked overnight. The firefighting response was called off around 5:30 a.m. Thursday.

The home belonged to Brad Towne and his wife, Rita. Brad Towne’s mother, long-time state Rep. Ruth Towne had also lived in the home.

Rita Towne was the sole family member home at the time of the fire, and escaped after a passing motorist alerted her.
Flames quickly spread from the barn to the home.
Rita Towne said many neighbors helped her corral 12 horses and a pony that had been in a second barn that was unaffected. While the home burned, the animals were secured in a fenced area away from the fire.

The initial fire dispatches suggested the burning barn held animals, but Rita Towne later said that was not the case.
At 10:21 p.m., a winter portion of the 20-plus room home was still standing but fully engulfed on both floors. All that remained of the hay barn was a few portions of the side walls near the base of the structure.

Rita Towne said the barn and home were insured.
Tanker trucks were called to the scene from several communities, and crews pulled water from the river.
Berlin firefighters had assistance from some 10 other area fire departments.
A State Police detective and a fire investigator with the state also evaluated the scene, and officials determined the fire was caused by a piece of farm equipment parked in the barn. The fire was not considered suspicious.

The value of the loss is estimated at at least $200,000.

Ruth Towne, who passed away in 2007, served in the General Assembly for 26 years, and for several years she chaired the House Agriculture Committee.

-David Taube

Fire at granite shed in Barre

There is a report of a major fire in Barre behind the Allen Lumber building on the south side of the branch of the Winooski, with multiple fire departments responding to the scene. They were first toned at 4:37 a.m., and departments from Barre City, Barre Town, Northfield, Waterbury, Berlin, and Plainfield have responded, according to a report from the scene.

The departments believe the fire is in the office area; crews have not yet contained the fire, but are working to reach it. Smoke is in the area across North Main Street.

We have a reporter and photographer on the way and will update as we have more to report.

Fire claims woman’s life in South Burlington

A fire Thursday evening claimed the life of a woman in South Burlington, State Police said this morning.

After a neighbor called 911 to report hearing a smoke detector going off in a nearby home, the South Burlington Fire and Police departments responded to 154 Catkin Drive in South Burlington at about 7:15 p.m. on Thursday.

Crews extinguished the fire quickly and found a dead woman inside the home.

The department called in the State Police fire investigation unit to conduct an origin and cause investigation,  which is ongoing.  The South Burlington Police Department is leading the investigation.