Wednesday August 14, 2013

MIKE FAHER

Brattleboro Reformer

VERNON -- A fire that extensively damaged a Pond Road home over the weekend remains under investigation.

Six fire departments responded to the single-family home in the 700 block of Pond Road Saturday evening. Were it not for that quick response, "it could have been much worse than what it was," said Michael Pratt, Vernon Fire Department assistant chief.

"It was spreading really quickly," Pratt said.

The blaze was called in around 6:30 p.m. Saturday at a home owned by the Gay family. The occupants already had escaped safely when firefighters arrived, Pratt said.

"It originally came in as a stove fire. The chief responded direct," he said. "When he got there, there were flames showing." A first alarm brought fire-fighting help from Brattleboro and Putney and from the Massachusetts towns of Northfield, Bernardston and Gill.

"Originally, Brattleboro was going to cover our station, but we routed them directly to the scene," Pratt said. "We needed the manpower and the water."

The blaze was knocked down and deemed under control within about 90 minutes. Vernon firefighters began releasing neighboring departments from the scene around 8 p.m., Pratt said.

"It was good teamwork -- all the departments worked well together," he said.

In spite of those efforts, the home sustained considerable damage from the fast-moving fire.

"There’s extensive damage. There’s a lot of water damage in the living room. The kitchen is totally gone," Pratt said. "We had to ventilate the roof, so that’s got extensive damage as well."

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. As of Monday evening, the family apparently had not requested assistance from the Red Cross, an agency spokesman said.