City fire crews fighting fire in gun shop on Elm Street
By Lucia Suarez
Staff Writer | February 19,2013
A fire destroyed three-bay garage and reported gun shop on Elm Street in the city early Tuesday morning.
Rutland City Fire Chief Robert Schlachter said when firefighters arrived to the scene around 8 a.m. flames and a lot of smoke could be seen from the wooden garage behind the home. He said the cause of the fire was unknown at the time, but fire investigators with Vermont State Police were called in.
“We wanted to air on the side of caution,” the chief said. “We used defensive tactics, meaning we did not go inside of the building.”
Schlachter said a vehicle in the garage sustained a lot of damage along with the various items inside.
“Everything in there was pretty well damaged,” he added.
He said they found several guns and ammunition in boxes and that none had gone off during the fire, though they took precautions.
“Ammunition in a box, the casing goes one way while the projectile goes the other way,” Schlachter said. “It can cause damage, but not it does not go as fast as if shot from a gun.”
The fire chief said the fire was contained to the garage, but the owner of the house was evacuated as a precaution.
Donna LaRose, who lives across the street, was alarmed to see the fire in the shed behind King’s house a little before 8 a.m.
“I see smoke, flames, shooting out over there,” she said. “I came out and screamed, ‘somebody call 911!’”
Other neighbors knocked on the door to the Kings to warn them, and multiple fire engines responded to the street and began to set up hoses with precautions taken because of the threat of ammo in the building.
According to Mayor Christopher Louras, who walked down to check on the fire, the precautions were part of a protocol followed by the fire department in these cases.
According to neighbors, King’s gun shop has been in business around 40 years; the owner, Gerald King, lives in the house adjacent to the shop, which is housed in a shed to the rear of the house. King is retired, but still does some work on guns.