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Massive Fire Destroys Vermont Lumber Yard Building

Staff Reports
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STAMFORD, Vt. — Firefighters from five volunteer fire companies spent more than eight hours battling a massive blaze at Eagle Lumber Co. off Route 100.

The fire consumed a 12,000 square-foot structure, known as the process building, at the sawmill at 220 Robillard Ave. Firefighters were on the scene more eight hours containing and dousing the blaze at the family-owned sawmill.

"We don't have a cause ... the state fire marshal will investigate," said Fire Chief Paul Ethier, but there were no indications it was suspicious. "This fire is not suspicious. There is no suspicion here whatsover but we have yet to determine the cause."

The fire was reported at 4:23 a.m. and firefighters arrived just four minutes later to find the fire raging.

"The entire factory was fully involved," said Ethier. "We kept it from spreading to five other buildings."

"It got a good head start on us. We had a good water suply with large diameter hose, so once we got the water established we were in good shape."

Fire trucks from Stamford, Readsboro and Whitingham, as well as Clarksburg and Florida, Mass., lined Robillard in the morning darkness. Hoses snaked up the driveway and across the yard between outbuildings to reach the inferno. Large stacks of lumber and flooring could be seen ablaze inside the building.

A neighbor on nearby Brookside Drive said he was making coffee when the power flickered at about 4:20; he looked out the window and could see the orange glow to the south.

The electrical flickering shut off small appliances throughout town but apparently had nothing to do with the fire but with a problem Green Mountain Power was working on in Readsboro.

The sawmill has long been owned by the Potvin family. The building housed planers, saws and other sawmill equipment, as well as lumber. Ethier said the building was insured but the owners were determining with their insurance company on whether all the equipment was covered.

Firefighters cleared the scene at about 1:30. North Adams (Mass.) Ambulance Service also responded to the fire.

The weather cooperated as snow was light and the temperatures moderate, making fighting the fire somewhat easier. However, slippery conditions caused two injuries — a firefighter and an emergency medical technician — who both took falls. Both were taken to North Adams (Mass.) Regional Hospital. 

More photos here.

Editor's note:  Wording changed referring to the fire chief's comment on not knowing cause of fire to more accurately reflect what he said.

Original Post: 6:46 a.m., Feb. 11, 2012

STAMFORD, Vt. — A massive fire early Saturday morning destroyed a warehouse building at Eagle Lumber Co. off Route 100.

Stamford volunteer firefighters were aided by nearby departments, including Readsboro and Whitingham and Clarksburg and Florida, Mass., in containing the blaze and preventing it from jumping to nearby buildings at the sawmill.

The fire at 220 Robillard Ave. started before 4:30 a.m. and was fully involved when firefighters arrived. The cause was not immediately available and firefighters were expected to be on the scene for some time. North Adams Ambulance was also on the scene.

A neighbor on nearby Brookside Drive said he was making coffee when the power flickered at about 4:20; he looked out the window and could see the orange glow to the south.

Eagle Lumber Co. is a long-held family business operated by the Potvins. The building housed a variety of equipment and lumber, including flooring. Large stacks of lumber could be seen stacked inside the burning building.

More photos here.

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