Windham home destroyed by fire


WINDHAM — A suspected electrical three-alarm fire brought a home to the ground Tuesday afternoon.

A 911 call came in around 1:45 p.m. from Andover and also from Tater Hill Golf Club in Chester, reporting that a cloud of smoke appeared to be rising from a spot near Glebe Mountain. The Windham Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene first to find a home on Windham Springs Road engulfed in flames.

"It was too far gone, there was no way you could save it," said Windham Volunteer Fire Department Chief Rick Weitzel.

When Weitzel and his team arrived, he said the roof on the main house was already destroyed, the walls were fully engulfed but still standing, the building that connected to the garage was gone and the garage was fully absorbed with fire.

No persons or animals were inside the dwelling at the time of the fire and no injuries were sustained. Firefighters from several departments responded along with Londonderry Volunteer Rescue Squad and officials from the Vermont State Police Fire Investigative Unit, who said they suspected the cause of the fire was electrical.

One detective on the scene explained the difficulty of investigating a "total loss" fire.

"Let me put it this way, if I take a blank piece of paper and I go outside where you cannot see me and I catch it on fire and I let the paper burn up and I hand it to you and it's only the black stuff and I say, 'where did the fire start?' Isn't that the same thing here?" said Vermont State Police Detective Sgt. David Sutton. "But if you put the paper out to some extent and there's a little bit of it left, it gives you a chance to at least say 'can I make a determination from this?' So one of the things I can determine is which end of the paper did the fire start on, so it's kind of the same thing here, but you can't oppose the fire department who wants to suppress it to put it out."

After departments did all they could, an excavator was brought to the scene from David Chaves Excavating Inc, to take out parts of the structure and move debris around to make sure the fire was completely extinguished. Sutton added that this made determining the origin difficult.

According to Vermont State Police fire investigator Detective Sgt. Steve Otis, this was the owner's second home, but one of the family members had been at the Windham Springs Road house within the last few weeks.

The home owner, Carol Werner, called this a "devastating time," but still wanted to extend her thanks to those who responded to the scene.

"I don't really have anything else to say except how wonderful everyone is here, and thank you to everyone who responded," said Werner.

Though Otis suspects the cause of the fire is electrical, the cause and origin is still under investigation at this time. Otis added that this fire is not deemed suspicious.

According to Weitzel, the following departments responded Windham Volunteer Fire Department, Londonderry, South Londonderry, Jamaica, Chester, Winhall, Londonderry Volunteer Ambulance and Springfield.

Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275


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