‘Suspicious’ fire breaks out in home’s basementBy Susan Smallheer
Staff Writer | October 02,2013SUSAN SMALLHEER
SPRINGFIELD – Vermont State Police investigators are calling the cause of a fire early Tuesday morning in the basement of a Main Street home “suspicious,” but stopped short of calling it arson.
No one was hurt in the fire at 138 Main St., a large Victorian home next to the Springfield Post Office, that housed two apartments.
Springfield Fire Chief Russell Thompson said the fire was called in at 2:09 a.m., by the homeowner, Adam Saris, who was awakened by a smoke detector going off.
The chief said he immediately called a third alarm, given the fire’s downtown location and its proximity to many buildings. The Springfield Community Center and Lovejoy Tool Co. are on the other side of Main Street.
He said firefighters encountered heavy smoke coming from the basement fire, which was largely put out by compressed air foam. There was heat and smoke damage to the other parts of the building.
Vermont State Police Detective Sgt. Steven Otis said the fire started in an area of the basement where there were no electrical wires nor combustible materials, leading to the “suspicious” label.
Otis said that Thompson had requested the investigation to determine the “cause and origin” of the fire.
“We can’t determine it at this time,” Otis said.
The house, which is undergoing renovations, is painted a distinctive pale purple, Otis said.
Otis said that Saris and his father were the only people home at the time the fire broke out. He said the bulkhead entrance to the basement was blocked, and that the fire department had to break through that in order to get access to the fire. He said the only access to the basement was through the building.
Otis said the investigation has now been turned over to the Springfield Police Department.
The Red Cross said in a press release it is helping the three people who were living in the building find temporary housing, as well as financial aid for food and storage.
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