Departments respond to Putney woodworking studio

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Photo Gallery | Fire at Smead Woodcraft

PUTNEY — Reports of fire showing through the roof of a woodworking studio prompted a response from several emergency service providers.

On Monday at about 1 p.m., the Southwestern New Hampshire District Fire Mutual Aid Dispatch Center notified fire companies of the incident at 73 Bellows Falls Road in Putney. The road connects to Route 5.

A press release issued by Putney Fire Chief Thomas Goddard around 5 p.m. on Monday explained that the property owner and occupant Donald Smead made the initial 911 call but others followed. The fire was upgraded to a second alarm when members of the Putney Fire Department saw "a heavy smoke column" visible from the fire station as they were leaving to respond.

The 40-by-20-foot wood-framed woodworking studio was heavily involved in fire when Putney firefighters arrived at the scene. Flames were showing from the roof.

"The involved structure was attached to the owner's single-family dwelling structure via a covered walkway and flames were found to be extending from the involved building to the dwelling. In addition, a brush fire was also burning in the rear of the structure, which had been ignited by flaming debris," Goddard reported. "All building occupants were accounted for and had self-evacuated from the building prior to the fire department's arrival."

The fire was contained to the studio and the house was protected from the fire. The fire was determined to be under control at 1:44 p.m. but "extensive overhaul" was required to ensure all fire was extinguished, according to the press release. The scene was cleared at 2:52 p.m.

After investigation by fire departments from Putney and Brattleboro, the fire was not considered suspicious. But it remains under investigation by the Putney Fire Department, Vermont State Police and Vermont Division of Fire Safety.

"The structure housing the woodworking shop was extensively damaged by the fire, with all equipment, tools, and material stock located within the structure damaged to varying degrees," Goddard wrote. "The attached dwelling was not damaged."

Smead Woodcraft is located at the address. According to a directory listing, the company has existed for 61 years and it specializes in hardwood veneer and plywood.

Arriving at the scene were fire trucks from Bellows Falls, West Dummerston, Westminster, Guilford, Vernon, Brattleboro, Walpole, N.H., and West Chesterfield, N.H. Windham County Sheriffs Office provided traffic control as the road was closed. Rescue Inc. also had personnel at the scene.

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


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