Whitingham fire leaves 6 homeless

Tuesday July 23, 2013

WHITINGHAM -- Early Monday morning, firefighters arrived on Route 112 for a house fire that was fully involved.

"All the firemen did an absolutely amazing job," said Whitingham Fire Chief Stan Jankowski. "For that type of fire, it was a quick knockdown."

Four adults and two children escaped the fire without harm. The children were sleeping inside the house near a section where the fire had been aggressive, Jankowski said.

The State Police on Tuesday described the fire as "accidental," and stated that "it is believed the fire began as the result of an electrical problem.

People staying in the home had been alerted to the fire "after hearing a large popping sound and waking to find smoke in the house," according to the State Police. A resident immediately called 911 to report the fire.

There was a call sent out to firefighters at 2:40 a.m. One of the residents said it wasn't very long before the Whitingham Fire Department showed up at the scene. At approximately 3 a.m., firefighters began knocking the fire down.

When firefighters saw an orange glow at the windows in the front of the house, the fire was upgraded to a second alarm.

Jankowski told the Reformer that the house fire was fully involved when he arrived at the scene. Firefighters were concerned about the proximity to neighboring houses. They were trying to protect the other homes as they brought in the hoses.

The location of the house was between two other houses, which are about 12 to 14 feet apart on either side.

"It was a pretty aggressive inside attack," said Jankowski.

Most of the damage was done to the side closest to Route 100 and the upper back side of the house.

Mutual Aid in Wilmington laid a five-inch line by the Jacksonville Pond, where a water source is located. The Whitingham Fire Department had a four-inch line coming from the center of Jacksonville.

The house sustained fire, smoke and water damage, all estimated to cost approximately $80,000.

Readsboro Fire Department covered the Whitingham Fire Department, while the Jacksonville Fire Department was covered by the Marlboro Fire Department.

During the fire, the Whitingham Fire Department closed Route 112, between Route 100 and Holbrook Road. It reopened again shortly after the fire was out.

The local chapter of the American Red Cross is assisting the family.

NOTE: This story was updated from the version which appeared in the print edition of the Brattleboro Reformer, to reflect the suspected cause and additional information from the Vermont State Police.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.


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