fire

A fire that broke out earlier this month at 75 South Main St. in Rutland City, right, spread to the house next door.

The fire at 75 South Main St. remains under investigation two weeks later, police said Thursday.

Vermont State Police deemed the fire “suspicious” and Rutland City Police Chief Brian Kilcullen said Thursday the investigation was still underway.

“We’re still making progress,” he said. “I’m pretty confident we’ll have a good understanding of the events that night once we get through it all.”

The May 1 fire at the apartment house left 10 people homeless. While the flames were largely confined to the second floor, firefighters said the first floor sustained water damage.

Police said the fire, which was reported shortly after 5 a.m., originated in the southwest stairwell area and went up the rear stairwell before spreading throughout the structure. The initial investigation did not pinpoint a specific point of origin or cause — though electrical and natural causes had been ruled out — and no more information was available as of Thursday afternoon.

Several tenants described using electrical heaters and stoves for warmth because the furnace was not working — a claim disputed by the landlord — and one was quoted at the fire scene as saying, “This place is so not up to code, it’s not funny.”

City Zoning Administrator Tara Kelly said that there was no history of code violations at the building, but that there were also no inspections on record since 2003. Landlords are required to get certificates of occupancy from a city building inspector upon any change in ownership or occupancy. Kelly said city records show the building was last sold in 2016.

The displaced residents were sheltered by the nearby Christ the King Church and helped with resettlement by the American Red Cross.

gordon.dritschilo

@rutlandherald.com

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