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Smoke Detectors save house on Williams Street

On Friday, May 31st, at 1509, the Essex Jct Fire Department, Essex Fire Department and Essex Rescue were dispatched to a structure fire on Williams Street in the City. Lieutenant Leclair requested that Essex Dispatch add Williston Fire and St. Michaels Fire to the run card.

The first arriving fire officer, Assistant Chief Kellogg, found a two-story residence in a middle lot, off the main road, with smoke showing from the delta side of the Structure. The unfortunate timing of the call and its alignment with the City's School release time delayed the City fire responders as they dealt with congested traffic. This led to a response where Essex Fire Engine 2, Williston Engine 2, and Essex Junction Engine 7, in that order, all arrived within seconds of one another at 1516. Crews from the City and Town departments pulled fire attack lines and entered the structure within minutes of arriving. Williston Ladder came in and hit the hydrant supplying water to Engine 7.

Initial reports from residents suggested a kitchen fire, but upon reaching the kitchen, the crew found no active fire. They were met with challenging conditions, with smoke heavily concentrated and visibility reduced to near zero. Undeterred, they located the fire in the mudroom on the alpha side of the structure, swiftly extinguishing it. Meanwhile, Williston fire had thrown ladders to the Bravo Side of the structure and initiated a primary search. The fire was controlled by 1525 and declared out without extension by 1540, a testament to the crew's resilience and professionalism.

The fire was determined to be accidental, with the cause being incense left burning while the resident was out completing chores. Incense burns at temperatures right around the flammable temperature of paper products. This family was in the process of moving into the home, and the incense was too close to packing materials, which ignited the fire. The fire was contained in the room of origin, but smoke and heat damage are throughout the first floor, and smoke damage is throughout the second floor. The fire was found by neighbors when they heard smoke detectors, went to look and saw smoke, and then immediately called 911.

There were no injuries to citizens or firefighters on the scene. We want to thank our mutual aid partners for their assistance at the fire. Agencies on the scene;

Essex Junction Fire

Essex Town Fire

Williston Fire

St. Michael's Fire

Essex Police

Essex Rescue

Richard Smith


Public Information officer

Photo provide by Sophie Van Wilde


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