Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.  

Several fire departments responded to a three-alarm fire at Rod’s Towing & Repairs, on Main Street, in Putney, Vt., on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.

PUTNEY — A three-alarm fire that is believed to have been set heavily damaged Rod’s Towing & Repairs at 40 Main St. early Saturday morning.

According to the Vermont State Police, the cause of the fire is considered suspicious and believed to be the result of “direct human involvement.” State fire inspectors encircled the building with crime scene tape Saturday morning and the investigation is ongoing. Damages from fire, heat, smoke, and water are expected to be more than $250,000, according to police.

Saturday afternoon, the business posted on its Facebook page that the fire “has been confirmed arson,” and called the building a “total loss.”

“Someone came around 1:00am, and set our used tires out back on fire,” the business wrote. “Our hearts are broken, but we thank everyone for their patience as we figure out what our next steps are.”

Support our journalism. Subscribe today. →

The call came in around 1:30 a.m., after people heard an explosion and saw visible flames.

Putney Fire Chief Tom Goddard said the first units on the scene encountered heavy fire in the rear of the building, so attack lines, heavy handlines, and aerials were quickly put in place. A third alarm was called to bring in tanker trucks from around southeast Vermont and southwest New Hampshire to the location.

Even though Putney has a municipal water system and hydrants, that hydrant system presents limitations with a fire of this magnitude, according to Goddard, as with other fires that have happened in the downtown area. That is why tankers are called in to supplement.

“Fortunately at the end of the day, there were no injuries,” Goddard said. “Hats off to everyone here that was working with us.”