Fire leaves tenants homeless
By Patrick McArdle
Staff Writer | November 28,2013
NORTH BENNINGTON — A Thanksgiving Day fire displaced five people from a Water Street home but caused no injuries, according to North Bennington Fire Department First Assistant Chief Keith Cross.
There are three apartments in the building at 11 Water St. Cross said the structural damage caused by the fire and the efforts to put it out had left the building unsafe for the residents at least Thursday.
“This place is shut down. There’s holes going through the roof, holes going through the third floor and second floor where the hot water tank’s ready to fall right through, so, naw, ain’t nobody going to be staying here,” he said.
The fire was reported around 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Most of the firefighters had cleared the scene by around 3:15 p.m.
Cross said the cause of the fire seemed to be electrical. The fire’s source was tracked to wiring between the second and third floor apartments.
“Once it broke through, it started going up through the walls, started going up into the attic area,” he said.
Assisting the North Bennington Fire Department were the Bennington, Bennington Rural, Shaftsbury and Pownal fire departments from Vermont and the North Hoosick Falls Fire Department from New York. North Bennington is on the border between Vermont and New York.
At the scene, Helen Morey, who lived in the apartment on the first floor, said she didn’t know anything about the fire until firefighters were “pounding on (her) door” and telling her she had to leave. Morey said she lives alone and wasn’t concerned that she wouldn’t find a place to stay until she could return to her home.
Morey also said the man who lives on the third floor was away at the time of the fire.
The three residents of the second floor apartment are Bennington College students. Bela Figge, a student from Germany, said he and his roommates, a woman from France and a man from Colorado, heard “several popping explosions” and smelled and heard smoke.
Figge said he was mostly concerned Thursday with whether or not he and his roommates would be able to return to the apartment because he had seen that some of the walls and ceiling were partially destroyed.
Jamie Carrey, the owner of the building, said it was about 100 years old and one of the older homes in the village. As firefighters were cleaning up the site, he said he was primarily pleased that no one was hurt in the fire.
Cross said representatives of the American Red Cross were on their way Thursday afternoon to help Morey. Figge said the college was going to provide housing for him and his roommates.