Shumlin's rental property catches fire

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Westminster West — One of Governor Peter Shumlin's rental properties caught fire on the second floor Tuesday afternoon.

At approximately, 3:31 p.m. one of Shumlin's tenants, Elisabeth Long, returned to the home at 700 Westminster West Rd. where she was welcomed by simultaneous smoke alarms. Long made her way through the smoky house, trying to pinpoint where the fire was coming from. She travelled up to the second floor, where a cloud of smoke signified that the source of fire was upstairs

"I called 9-1-1 and then ran back upstairs to get our puppy who was upstairs, I got him out, and then went back with a fire extinguisher, but the smoke was too thick, so I went outside and then the fire station got here," said Long.

The fire came from either a washer or dryer in the second floor bathroom, according to Cole Streeter, the chief from the Westminster Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department. Both appliances were ruined and significant smoke and some water damage occurred on the ceiling and parts of the flooring on the second floor.

"You got a foot to the top of the stairs and it was black smoke," said Streeter. "There was a considerable amount of heat up high, but they could not tell where the fire was at all, and then they could see a little bit of a flicker in here."

Streeter added that it was not a "large" fire, but instead consisted of smoke and heat. The 25-30 firefighters that reported to the scene knocked out the windows on the second floor to ventilate the room and brought a hose up the stairs into the bathroom where they were able to contain the fire within approximately 30 minutes. No individuals or animals sustained any injuries.

The Westminster Fire Department along with an engine from Putney and Walpole, N.H., covered Westminster's main station. The Golden Cross Ambulance also reported to the scene.

Long, who said she has lived at the house since June of 2015 with her children and husband, said Shumlin is their landlord. While the governor was not at the scene, his brother Jeff Shumlin stood outside and confirmed that the governor was aware of the fire.

"I was going to call Pete, but I think he's in Iowa campaigning for Clinton," said Long.

The governor's office did not respond for comment in time for publication.

After the fire was under control firefighters took out all of the items that were damaged by smoke or water and covered some valuables with a salvage cover so no further damage would occur.

"We'll turn the house back over to them within an hour or so, and I let them know they should get a hold of their insurance company ... and start to clean things up," said Streeter. "It will stink, there's a lot of smoke and a little water damage all over upstairs."

– Contact Maddi Shaw at 802-254-2311, ext. 275, or mshaw@reformer.com.


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