Flames come from the roof of a home under renovation on River Street in Fair Haven.FAIR HAVEN — Chip Bergantino was getting a haircut Friday afternoon when someone said they saw smoke behind River Street. He quickly ran to see and found his two-story house engulfed in flames.
“My mother’s antiques and family heirlooms are in there,” he said, watching firefighters from three towns trying to contain the fire.
The call came in around 4:15 p.m. and when firefighters arrived they found flames coming out of the second floor and the roof.
“The fire is basically in the attic and the upper walls,” said Jim Heller, assistant fire chief in Fair Haven.
He said firefighters were having some trouble getting the blaze under control, but that it was contained to those areas.
“It’s a manpower operation,” Heller said.
Nobody was at home at the time the fire broke out and no injuries were reported.
Fire Chief David Ward said Bergantino was doing renovations to the house, which meant there were open walls and doors throughout.
“Probably why the fire spread so fast,” he said.
The chief said the majority of the fire damage was in the roof and attic — which were a total loss — and the second floor. He said there was heavy smoke and water damage to the first floor and adjacent additions.
The crowd that gathered on River Street could still see flames coming out of the roof. Debris was being pushed out of the house by streams of water as firefighters worked to put out the flames.
Stuart Lizotte Jr., who volunteers with the American Red Cross, was nearby when the fire call came through. He said he was in touch with his supervisors and the homeowner for any help they can offer.
Bergantino, who lives alone, said he was not sure exactly what he would need.
Ward said the cause of the fire was unknown, but that Vermont State Police fire investigators were called in to make a determination. He said it did not look suspicious at the moment, from the accounts he had received from the homeowner.
Firefighters from Fair Haven, Castleton and Poultney responded to the scene. Fire departments from West Rutland, and Hampton and Granville, N.Y., were on call and covering other stations. River and Liberty streets were closed off while firefighters were on the scene.
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