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Rechargeable battery the cause of fire in Greensboro on Monday

in Fire/Greensboro/Newport/News

GREENSBORO — Firefighters encountered heavy smoke and an active fire in the basement of a two-story home on Country Club Road in Greensboro on Monday.

The homeowner had left the residence approximately 20 minutes before the alarm, fire investigators say.

The fire was quickly extinguished and fire damage was limited to one room in the basement.

The remainder of the home suffered moderate smoke damage.

Greensboro Fire Chief David Brochu Jr. contacted investigators for assistance in determining the origin and cause of this fire.

Investigators say that the homeowner had left a rechargeable, lithium-ion battery charging in the basement.

The battery was the type used to power cordless power tools.

Investigators determined that the battery had a catastrophic failure, most likely due to over-charging, causing it to explode.

The exploding battery debris caught other nearby combustibles on fire, which eventually caught structural framing members on fire in the basement.

Fire investigators say it is strongly recommended that people monitor any re-chargeable battery device during the charging phase and also follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

This fire is classified as accidental and not considered suspicious.

There were no reported injuries.

Police say fire in Newport considered suspicious

in Fire/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Investigators say that a fire that broke out in Newport early this morning is considered suspicious.

The structure fire took place at a residence on Prospect Street at around 1:23 a.m.

Authorities say that the fire started in a room on the first floor of the two-story structure.

The windows in the room broke from heat and pressure, and the fire began to exit the building through the windows and extend towards the second floor.

Fire personnel were able to suppress the fire quickly, preventing any subsequent fire spread or further damage to the building or other surrounding structures.

The building contained two separate apartments.

The second-floor apartment had been vacant for some time and the tenants in the first-floor were in the process of moving out and not currently residing there. 

Witnesses told police they’ve seen people entering and exiting the first-floor apartment on a regular basis, and several people were seen entering and exiting the apartment shortly before the fire was reported. 

There were no reported injuries, however, the building sustained extensive first-floor fire, smoke, and water damage.  

Fire investigators responded to the scene later this morning and began an origin and cause investigation.

According to a statement issued by investigators, the cause remains under investigation and is considered suspicious. 

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Det. Sgt. Michael LaCourse at the Derby Barracks at 802-334-8881, Sgt. Charles Moulton at the Newport City Police Department at 802-334-6733 or by contacting the Vermont Arson Tip Award Program(VATAP) hotline at 1-800-32-ARSON(1-800-322-7766).

The VATAP will pay up to a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Police: Fire in Newport considered suspicious

in Fire/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Authorities say that a fire that broke out in Newport on Tuesday remains under investigation and is considered suspicious.

At around 11:00 a.m. the Newport City Fire Department responded to a report of a house filled with smoke at 136 Hill Street.

According to the report, there was evidence of a small fire in the basement area that one of the homeowners had extinguished by himself.

Yvan Parenteau Jr. told fire personnel that he was outside the residence when he heard a smoke detector activated inside the residence.

Parenteau stated that he found embers in the basement ceiling, and was able to keep the fire from spreading.

No one was reported to be inside the residence prior to Parenteau noticing the smoke and fire.

There were no injuries and the house sustained only minor smoke and fire damage.

Chief Jamie Leclair called for assistance with an origin and cause investigation.

Investigators from the Fire & Explosion Unit responded to the scene and opened an investigation, but were unable to locate any competent ignition sources in the area of origin.

They say that the cause remains under investigation and is considered suspicious.

Authorities investigating explosion and fire in Holland

in Derby Line/Fire/Holland/Newport/News

HOLLAND — Authorities say that an explosion and fire that took place at a home in Holland on Wednesday is currently being investigated.

At around 2:45 p.m. the Derby Line Fire Department responded to a report of a home explosion and a fire located at 2896 Gore Road North.

Fire personnel found that the residence was completely engulfed and partially collapsed.

According to the report, the homeowners are identified as Mark Newell and Cynthia Merrill.

Police say nobody had been at the home for several days, and there were no reported injuries.

An investigation unit was contacted to try and determine the origin and cause of the incident.

Investigators say that because of the amount of fire damage and consumption of combustible materials, nothing can be determined at this time.

They are requesting anyone with information regarding this incident to contact Det. Sgt. Michael LaCourse at the Derby Barracks at 802-334-8881 or by contacting the Vermont Arson Tip Award Program (VATAP) hotline at 1-800-322-7766.

The VATAP will pay up to a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Cigarette sparks massive fire in Burke

in Burke/Fire/News

BURKE — Investigators say a cigarette caused a massive fire in Burke on Saturday that destroyed two homes and caused a propane tank to explode.

At around 12:30 p.m. the West Burke Fire Department was dispatched to the location at 237 Depot Street.

Firefighters say the explosion of a 250-pound propane tank endangered all fire personnel and shot embers a distance from the property.

The explosion resulted in a residence across the street catching fire, as well as starting several brush fires.

The origin of the fire was determined to be the garage, which had piles of dried leaves and other combustibles adjacent to it.

They were ignited by a carelessly extinguished cigarette from a visitor at the residence, investigators say.

Westerly winds caused the fire to quickly spread to the house. Two homes and a garage were totally destroyed in the fire, as well as another two properties which sustained heat damage.

No injuries other than a foot injury sustained by an occupant of one of the properties was reported.

The fire is classified as accidental.

Fire at the Border Motel

in Albany/Derby/Derby Line/Fire/News

DERBY — A fire broke out at the Border Motel in Derby on Friday night.

At around 11:20 p.m. the Derby Line Fire Department responded to a report of a fire in an occupied room on the second floor at the hotel, located on Route 5.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames and keep the fire contained to the room.

There were no reported injuries from the fire, however, another tenant was transported to North Country Hospital for an unrelated medical emergency.

After his initial scene examination, Chief Craig Ellam requested the assistance of the Fire Investigation Unit.

Investigators say they were able to confirm that the fire originated on a couch in the room. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Police say the occupant of the room, Romuld Kuczek, 60, of Albany, was placed into protective custody due his level of intoxication.

The motel room sustained significant damage and is considered a total loss. Other nearby rooms sustained smoke and water damage and several tenants had to be relocated.

There are no criminal charges at this point, however, police say the case remains under investigation.

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    Photos by Suzanne Cray Zisselsberger.
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Fire crews battle fire in Albany

in Albany/Fire

ALBANY — A massive fire broke out in Albany on Monday.

Investigators say the cause of the fire, which took place at a home on Main Street, is still under investigation.

There were no reported injuries during the incident.

Weather played a role in mutual aid response time to help combat the blaze.

Route 14 was closed while crews battled the fire into the night.

The home was a total loss.

Historic barn destroyed in Barton

in Barton/Brownington/Fire/Newport/News

BARTON — The historic “Pines” barn in Barton was destroyed after a fire broke out on Monday afternoon.

Firefighters were called out at around 12:50 p.m. The large red barn, located on Kinsey Road, was fully engulfed in flames when crews arrived.

Firefighters say they focused their efforts on preventing the fire from spreading to several other nearby buildings, which only suffered minor damage.

The barn, owned by Michael and Kim Riendeau of Brownington, was a total loss.

There were no reported injuries, and the barn was not being used to house animals at the time.

Firefighters worked diligently for many hours to ensure the fire was fully extinguished.

Authorities say the cause of the fire is currently undetermined, however, the incident remains under investigation.

Anyone that witnessed the fire is asked to contact Det. Sgt Michael LaCourse at the Derby Barracks at 802-334-8881.

Derby man facing arson charges

in Derby/Derby Line/Fire

DERBY — A fire destroyed a home in Derby on Wednesday, and police say that a local man is facing arson charges.

Shawn Flynn, 50, of Derby was arrested following the incident.

At around 3:00 p.m. the Derby Line Fire Department responded to a report of a fully engulfed structure fire at 56 Quarry Circle in Derby.

Fire Chief Craig Ellam contacted the Fire Investigation Unit to conduct an origin and cause investigation.

Investigators say they began an examination of the scene, bringing in a state police K9 accelerant detection team.

“It was determined that the cause of this fire was due to direct human involvement,” a statement issued by police reads. “The classification of this fire is incendiary.”

Police say as a result of the investigation and interviews conducted, it was determined that Flynn, the homeowner, played a primary role in the causation of the fire. The presence of an accelerant was identified.

Flynn was arrested and released on a citation to appear in Orleans County Superior Court, due to extenuating circumstances.

Police say other potential charges pertaining to collateral damages that occurred to adjoining properties are being investigated.

Fire erupts along Caswell Avenue in Derby Line near U.S. Port of Entry

in Derby Line/Fire/News

DERBY LINE — A roadside grass fire temporarily halted construction of the new U.S. Port of Entry in Derby Line.

The fire broke out Tuesday afternoon at around 1:45 p.m. along Caswell Avenue, near the bridge which crosses I-91 at the U.S border.

Workers on site say the fire started near the street, and pushed downward toward the construction site. They speculated it may have started after someone flicked a cigarette butt from a moving vehicle.

A few of the construction workers used fire extinguishers to contain the blaze, which was mostly snuffed out by the time the Derby Line Fire Department arrived.

Authorities say no damage was reported to the $23 million construction site, where contractors have begun replacing the outdated port facility which currently exists.

April and May is considered peak fire season in Vermont and northern New York, with 75 percent of all fires taking place during these months.

Four dogs killed in fire, Charleston family displaced

in Charleston/Fire/News

CHARLESTON — A Charleston family was displaced by a house fire that also took the lives of four of their dogs on Sunday evening.

At around 6:00 p.m. authorities responded to the fire on Hudson Road.

Police say nobody was inside the trailer at the time, and the unit was fully engulfed when they arrived on the scene.

Firefighters had no trouble fighting the fire, which was under control in less than one hour. They believe the fire originated in the kitchen.

Four family dogs were killed during the incident.

The American Red Cross says they are assisting one adult and two children displaced by the fire. They have met with the residents to ensure they have a safe place to sleep and have food, clothing, and other essentials.

Over the next several days, Red Cross client casework volunteers will stay in contact with the residents and provide referrals as they begin the road to recovery.

In all, about 20 firefighters from Charleston and Brighton responded.

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    All photos courtesy of Beth Barnes.

Fire destroys Newport home

in Fire/Newport/News

NEWPORT — A Newport City home was destroyed after a fire broke out Tuesday night.

At around 8:45 p.m. the Newport City Fire Department responded to the scene, located at 54 Raymond Avenue.

Authorities say they found the residence unoccupied at the time, and the fire had already heavily engulfed the garage and home.

The fire department went into a defensive attack of the fire and gained control of it approximately two hours later.

Damages were estimated at approximately $350,000.00 and the property is considered to be a total loss. According to the report, the homeowner was identified as Clark Curtis.

No injuries were reported.

Fire Chief Jamie LeClair contacted the Vermont State Fire Investigative Unit this morning and requested an origin and cause investigation be conducted.

Investigators say at this time it is still undetermined as to what caused the blaze.

Brighton Assistant Fire Chief commended for helping save family from trailer fire

in Brighton/Fire

BRIGHTON — Just after midnight on Sunday, Ronald Horton of Brighton was awoken to the sound of his smoke detector going off. He looked up and saw a portion of his trailer had just caught fire.

Horton managed to wake the children, ages 1, 5, and 6, and remove them from the house before the building became fully engulfed in flames.

Just days before, Brighton Assistant Fire Chief Walt Driscoll had contacted authorities with concerns for the welfare of the children residing in this house.

Driscoll had learned the unit was not equipped with working smoke detectors. He had also learned there had been some electrical issue that involved flickering lights.

Concerned for the welfare of the children, he decided to contact DCF.

Investigators from DCF, along with Investigator Tim Angell from the Division of Fire Safety, conducted an inspection of the home.

Investigator Angell discovered there were no working smoke or CO detectors within the house. He also documented several other areas of concern pertaining to power in the house.

Angell informed the homeowners they needed to install working smoke and CO detectors and make arrangements for an electrician to inspect the house. He requested that the owners provide photographic proof to him once the detectors had been installed.

Thankfully, this installation had been completed, and following Sunday’s fire Driscoll and Angell are both being commended for their quick actions.

“It is clear in this case had the Brighton Assistant Fire Chief not reached out to vocalize his concerns regarding the welfare of these children, the outcome could have been much worse,” said Detective Sergeant Larry Smith.

After requesting an origin and cause investigation be conducted for Sunday’s fire, authorities say these recently installed detectors going off ultimately resulted in the saving of four lives.

The fire was blamed on electrical problems.

“These individuals should be commended for their hard work, dedication, and commitment to public safety,” Smith went on to say.

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    Photo by Raven Campbell.
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Orleans man loses truck, four-wheeler in garage fire

in Fire/Orleans

ORLEANS — A fire broke out at a garage on Water Street in Orleans on Tuesday.

At around 12:30 p.m. firefighters were notified of the blaze. The garage belonged to Tony Mason.

Mason lost a truck, tools, and an off-road vehicle in the fire.

Crews from Orleans and Barton worked to contain the fire, keeping it from spreading to a nearby home.

Mason’s home sustained minor damge to the vinyl siding.

The fire is currently under investigation, but authorities say that they do not believe the cause to be suspicious in nature.

Nobody was injured in the incident, and firefighters were able to leave the scene at around 3:30 p.m.

Smoking, oxygen tank causes fire in Brownington

in Brownington/Fire

BROWNINGTON — A Brownington man was kept overnight at North Country Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation after a fire started in his home Thursday morning.

Authorities say Joseph Aroh was in his living room having a cigarette while using an oxygen tank at around 9:30 a.m. when the fire broke out at the home, located on Hinman Settler Road.

Aroh was able to get himself out of the house, but suffered smoke inhalation and was transferred to the hospital by Orleans Ambulance.

Around 35 firefighters from Orleans, Barton, Irasburg, and Newport City worked to contain the blaze.

Crews managed to keep the fire to the living room and parts of the first floor. Two firefighters were nearly injured when the roof started to collapse, causing them to fall down a flight of stairs.

Aroh was treated overnight. He had insurance on the two-story home.

Authorities blame smoking while using oxygen for the fire.

Extreme cold causes fire trucks to freeze up fighting West Burke house fire

in Burke/Fire

WEST BURKE — An early morning fire broke out during extremely cold weather in West Burke on Friday, leaving a home destroyed and responding firetrucks frozen and unable to flow water.

At around 3:00 a.m. firefighters from both West and East Burke, as well as the Sutton Fire Departments, arrived at the vacant house located at 2582 Route 5.

The house was fully engulfed in flames when crews arrived.

Firefighters battled the fire during the extremely cold temperatures and accompanying high winds.

“Fire suppression efforts continued until the adverse weather conditions began to take its toll on the men and equipment,” Detective Sergeant Larry Smith said.

The fire was contained and reduced to just a smolder when all departments were forced to leave to thaw out their equipment. Temperatures caused the trucks to ultimately freeze up and unable to flow water.

Authorities say the fire itself does not appear suspicious at this time but investigators are looking to narrow down the timeframe in which this fire began, so the case remains under investigation.

Man rescued in Coventry after trying to save his dogs from burning home

in coventry/Fire

COVENTRY — A man was rescued from his home in Coventry after he passed out trying to save his dogs during a house fire early Thursday morning.

At around 2:00 a.m. the Newport City Fire Department was dispatched to a fully involved structure fire on Main Street.

While en-route the fire department learned that a resident, identified as Douglas Rounsevelle, was still inside the home.

Capt. Kevin Lacoss and firefighter Ryan Abel found Rounsevelle passed out on the kitchen floor and managed to pull him out to safety.

He was transported to North Country Hospital, where he was treated for smoke inhalation and a few other minor injuries.

State police say that after getting out, Rounsevelle re-entered the building to try and rescue his three dogs. All three dogs died in the fire, but authorities say that some cats managed to escape.

“The amount of fire throughout the house made it difficult to gain entry, so defensive operations were done to extinguish the fire,” a statement issued by the Newport City Fire Department reads.

The fire was under control by 4:00 a.m. and fully extinguished at 11:30 a.m.

The Orleans Fire Department and Irasburg Fire Department were called in for mutual aid.

There is no word as to what caused the fire, but it is not deemed to be suspicious at this time.

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    Photo by Carly Boudreau of Irasburg.
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    Photo by Tracy Farnsworth Stone‎.
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    Photo by Jenna Sanville-Graham.

Last working round barn in Vermont burns down

in Fire/Irasburg/News

IRASBURG — The round barn at the Robillard Flats Dairy Farm, located on Route 58 in Irasburg, was destroyed by fire this afternoon.

The fire broke out at around 1:30 p.m.

There were no reported injuries, however, some animals are believed to have been lost in the fire.

The barn was the last working round barn in the state.

It was purchased by Guy and Helen Robillard in 1960 and has been operated by their son Bernard and his wife since.

Most round barns still standing in the state of Vermont have currently been put to other uses.

There’s no word yet on what caused this fire.

Tractor-trailer fire in North Troy Wednesday night deemed suspicious

in Fire/News/North Troy

NORTH TROY — Investigators say the tractor-trailer that caught fire in North Troy on Wednesday has been deemed suspicious.

At around 10:20 p.m. Wednesday, the Troy Fire Department responded to 53 Vermont Route 105, for a report of a tractor-trailer on fire.

The fire was contained to the box trailer, which contained household items such as furniture and clothing.

There were no reported injuries or other property damage as a result of the fire.

On Thursday afternoon, investigators arrived and examined the scene.

“Based on evidence located at the scene, along with witness statements, the fire was deemed suspicious,” said Detective Sergeant Larry Smith, with the Fire Investigation Unit.

The case is under investigation and the State Police are continuing to follow leads at this time.

Police say if anyone saw any suspicious activity in this area at the time of the fire, they should contact State Police.

Fire at camp in Brownington under investigation

in Brownington/Fire/News

fire investigation brownington vermont news

BROWNINGTON — The State Police Fire Investigation Unit is looking into a fire that took place at a camp in Brownington on Wednesday.

Matthew DeLabruere, the owner of the camp, called to report the fire at around 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday. The fire was already out when DeLabruere arrived at the camp, located at 724 Ticehurst Road.

fire brownington vermont

There was no one in the camp during the fire and therefore no injuries. Because the fire was already out, firefighters were not called out to the scene.

A Detective from the State Police Fire Investigation Unit and a Fire Investigator from the Division of Fire Safety were at the scene on Friday to start an investigation of the incident.

The damage is estimated at $10,000.00.

The exact cause of the fire is still not known.

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