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<B>The remains of the lumber processing building at Eagle Lumber in Stamford are cordoned off. A Saturday morning fire destroyed the building. Two people were injured at the scene. (Mark Rondeau)</B>
Monday February 13, 2012

KEITH WHITCOMB JR.

Staff Writer

STAMFORD -- Fire Department Chief Paul Ethier described a fire that destroyed a lumber company building early Saturday morning one of the largest fires in the Stamford's history.

He said the call came in at 4:23 a.m., and firefighters responded to find the lumber processing building at the Eagle Lumber Co. on Robillard Road completely engulfed in flames. He said the building was 75 by 200 feet, and it took 50 firefighters and 14 trucks until 1:30 p.m. to put it down.

Ethier said because of the fire's size, the focus was on keeping it from catching into five other nearby structures as well as piles of lumber. Those other buildings, he said, also belong to the lumber company.

Two people were injured at the scene, he said, a firefighter and an emergency medical technician. He said the area was icy and they fell.

Eagle Lumber Co. owner Laurence Potvin told the North Adams Transcript that the building is insured, as is some of the equipment inside.

"We're still at the very beginning of the planning stages," said Potvin regarding the next steps for the business. "The fire marshall was here, the insurance company was here -- and there's a huge mess to clean up. There's all kinds of plans being thrown around, and we don't yet know which way it's going to go. I could see us getting it running at the same scale or possibly a smaller scale.


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Potvin's father opened Eagle Lumber Co. in the mid-1960s, and Potvin said he was attending college at the time of the most recent fire, when the plant building burned down in 1974.

"Sawmills burn all the time," Potvin said. "They're full of wood and sawdust and electrical things. I think you'd have a hard time finding someone in the business that hasn't dealt with a fire in the past."

Vermont state fire marshals were on scene Monday investigating. State police said Monday that the scene investigation revealed the cause of the fire to be undetermined, but not considered suspicious.

Anyone with information regarding the case is encouraged to contact Det. Sgt. David Sutton at 802-773-9101 or the Vermont Arson Tip Award Program (VATAP) at 1-800-32-ARSON.

Ethier said no one was at the site when the fire began. Either said he believes the building is insured, as is some of the equipment inside.

The Stamford Fire Department, along with fire departments from Readsboro, Whitingham, Clarksburg, Mass., Florida, Mass., responded to the scene. North Adams Ambulance was also on scene.

"It was one of the largest fires in the town's history," said Ethier.

Follow Keith Whitcomb Jr. on Twitter @KWhitcombjr