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Thread: Blaze Destroys Vermont Volunteer Fire Station

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    Blaze Destroys Vermont Volunteer Fire Station

    Updated: 02-09-2004 12:26:39 PM

    Blaze Destroys Vermont Volunteer Fire Station


    JOAN GOODCHILD
    Courtesy of WCAX News
    http://www.wcax.com/Global/story.asp...9&nav=4QcRKh7a

    The aftermath of the blaze is familiar. The ruins still smolder. The firefighters linger after the flames are out. But in Johnson, this is a different kind of disaster.

    "We're in emotional shock right now," says Duncan Hastings, Johnson's Town Administrator.

    Sunday morning, it was the firefighters here who had to call for help.

    "The Lamoille County Sheriffs Department received a 911 call reporting a fire. When they got here it was fully engulfed," said Hastings.

    At the leveled Johnson Fire Department, frozen uniforms lay on the ground -- a stark reminder of how helpless the men inside felt early Sunday morning.

    "The department personal themselves were unable to access equipment," Hastings said.

    Several area departments arrived to fight the flames. Many of the men inside required treatment for smoke inhalation and much of the equipment is damaged. The building is a total loss. Town volunteers stopped by to show support.

    "The fire department is really the heart and soul of this community," said Doug Molde, a local volunteer.

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    Departments lend hand to Johnson firefighters

    By Erica Jacobson
    Burlington Free Press Staff Writer

    Fire departments from around the state donated hoses, nozzles, breathing equipment and even trucks Monday to help the Johnson Volunteer Fire Department re-equip after a blaze devastated the department's fire station early Sunday morning.

    "If it's not hooked to one of our trucks, take it," said Wallace Reeve, fire chief of the Morrisville Volunteer Fire Department.

    The business of rebuilding began Monday as a fire investigator from the Vermont State Police continued to search for the cause of the fire. Detective Sgt. Bob Cushing said his investigation has focused on a meeting room in a back corner of the station. Cushing said ice at the fire scene hampered the search.

    "Hopefully it warms up enough so that it thaws the ice out so that we can put this together," Cushing said.

    Duncan Hastings, municipal administrator for the town and village of Johnson, said an insurance adjuster will spend this week calculating the total cost of the fire. One of the department's pumper trucks is a total loss, Hastings said, as is all of the firefighters' personal equipment -- suits, hats, boots, gear for underwater rescues. The fates of a tank truck, a second pumper truck, an ambulance-style rescue vehicle and a utility truck remain unclear.

    "If there's any question at all, it's going to be disposed of and replaced," Hastings said.

    By Monday morning, the department had begun setting up a temporary station in a spare municipal building in Johnson. They had a pumper truck on loan from the Hyde Park Volunteer Fire Department, a tanker truck from the Stowe Volunteer Fire Department and a utility truck from the Cambridge Volunteer Fire Department.

    "At this point, if we had to, we could respond to a fire," Hastings said. "It really speaks well to the mutual aid system here in Lamoille County, and the respect for the Johnson Fire Department."

    Hastings fielded more offers throughout Monday.

    Vermont fire officials in Chittenden, Franklin and Lamoille counties and beyond wanted to know what the Johnson department needed to get back on its feet.

    It was Wallace Reeve, fire chief of the Morrisville Volunteer Fire Department, who brought the most unexpected gift.

    Reeve and three other members of his department had been shopping for a used truck for their department in Elmira, N.Y., on Sunday morning when they heard about the Johnson fire. After explaining Johnson's situation to the dealer, the firefighters climbed in a pumper truck for the seven-hour drive back to Vermont.

    "We drove one of 'em home," he said. "I think it was leased for a dollar."
    Contact Erica Jacobson at 660-1843 or ejacobso@bfp.burlingtonfreepress.com.

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