Significant Fire Showing from House on Park Street
***Official information release from this morning's fire***
At 03:52 hrs on Sunday, January 10th, 2016, the Essex Junction Fire Department was simultaneously dispatched with Essex Fire Department to a reported structure fire at 57 Park Street Apartment # 3 in the Village of Essex Junction. En route to the scene, police officers updated that they were on the scene and were working on evacuating all residents from the apartment building.
Utility 61 arrived on the scene to find a two story, wood frame, multi family dwelling with fire showing from the second floor in the rear. Engine 21 arrived moments later and stretched a 1 3/4" to the rear of the structure. The crew quickly knocked down some of the fire and then proceeded up the stairs and began to make entry. Personnel encountered a fully involved (floor to ceiling) apartment fire and worked to push into the building. Crews continued to battle significant fire conditions and worked on pulling ceilings and opening up the knee walls as they entered.
Essex Engine 2 arrived on the scene and began to supply water from a hydrant to Engine 21. A crew from Ladder 3 stretched a second line to the apartment on the second floor in the front of the structure in search of the fire. The second line crew encountered smoke but no flame and discovered the fire was running through the attic with no access due to heavy wood construction for the attic.
Upon discovering the fire was in the attic and their was no interior access, crews ascended ground ladders to gable ends to attempt to knock the flames down. With fire breaking through the roof in multiple locations, the decision was made to switch to defensive operations and regroup.
Once firefighters were able to make progress on the attic, and ventilation holes were cut, crews entered the structure again to continue firefighting efforts. At this point, the fire had consumed one and a half apartments on the second floor and half of an apartment on the first floor. Members spent the next three hours performing extensive overhaul which was hampered by knee walls, plaster and lathe as well as blown-in insulation.
After operating on the scene for almost six hours, the fire was finally declared extinguished and crews began to pick up equipment.
At the time of this release, the probable cause of the fire was a space heater in the rear apartment on the second floor. No civilians or firefighters were injured throughout the incident.
We would like to thank Essex Rescue, Inc., Essex Fire Department, Essex Police and Saint Michael's College Fire and Rescue for their assistance on the fire scene. We also would like to thank Colchester Center Volunteer Fire Fighters' Association Inc. CCVFC for providing an engine for station coverage.