Bellows Falls apartment fire considered arson

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BELLOWS FALLS >> Officials say a fire started late Sunday night was an act of arson.

The Bellows Falls Fire Department was called to 57 Williams Street for a report of heavy smoke coming from the third floor at about 11:32 p.m., according to a press release sent by Fire Chief Steve Cenate.

"The occupant of the third floor self evacuated as firefighters were attempting to gain access to that apartment," the press release said. "Hose lines were stretched and the seat of the fire was located in a small room on the third floor. The fire was extinguished and the area was checked for extension."

Less than about $10,000 worth of damage to the building was estimated by officials. Josh Perry owns the building, which had four occupied apartments.

Second and third floor occupants were not permitted to return to their apartments for the night.

The fire was considered suspicious. The Vermont State Police and Vermont Department of Fire Safety Arson Investigations arrived on the scene Monday morning. After the investigation, the building was returned to the building manager.

"The investigators determined that the fire was arson in origin and is under investigation by the Bellows Falls Police Department," the press release said. "There were no civilian or fire personnel injured in the incident."

The incident was upgraded to a second alarm once firefighters arrived at the scene, prompting more responders to show up. Departments from Rockingham, Springfield, North Walpole, Westminster and Walpole assisted at the scene. Departments from Putney and Saxtons River covered the Bellows Falls station. Also at the scene was Golden Cross Ambulance.

One engine from Bellows Falls stayed at the scene overnight, according to the press release.

Contact Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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