BRATTLEBORO -- The Vermont Arson Tip Award Program is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information about a fire at the Lawrence Block at 23 South Main Street on July 7.
The $5,000 reward was announced Tuesday and is separate from the $1,000 reward that Lawrence Block property owner John Dunphy said he was offering for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person, or people responsible for the fire.
The new reward comes as tenants have begun moving back into the building and investigators continue looking into the suspicious fire that started around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Brattleboro Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Peter Lynch said three apartments have been opened up to tenants and he said he expects many of the other tenants to be moving back into their apartments in the coming days.
The fire started in a closet on the second floor, according to the BFD press release that was issued Sunday, and Lynch said the apartments on the first floor were inspected and approved for occupancy.
Electricians, plumbers and alarm specialists have been on site since Sunday and Lynch said Dunphy is working to get his tenants back in as soon as possible.
Lynch said some of the apartments on the third floor have smoke damage, and the area near where the fire started will have to be torn out and replaced.
He also said the alarm system has to work throughout the building before more tenants are
There are 10 apartments in the building.
"I am optimistic that the third floor will be able to be occupied quickly," Lynch said. "The first and second floors should be cleaned up quickly as well."
Meanwhile, Det. Michael Carrier said the Brattleboro Police Department is continuing to investigate the fire.
The Vermont State Police Arson Tip Award Program offered the $5,000 reward Tuesday afternoon.
Carrier would not give any details about the investigation, though he said the department was "receiving leads and following up on the information."
Anyone with information on the South Main Street fire should call Det. Carrier at the Brattleboro Police Department at 802-257-7950, or the tipsline at 802-251-8188. The state arson line can be reached at 800-32-ARSON.
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 279