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Furniture store goes up in flames in Vermont
BENNINGTON, Vt. -- It was one of the coldest days in recent memory and a long one for fire crews. They spent hours working to extinguish a fire at LaFlamme's furniture store, which kept flaring up during the day.
The fire happened at the corner of Routes 7A and 67A, which was closed for much of the morning and early afternoon.
If there was ever a way to visualize cold, 100 firemen in Bennington could show you. Water spread over a fire at LaFlammes furniture froze to the building feet away from flames, and what water sprayed back on emergency crews froze to their turn-out gear.
When it's this cold and you can't get your water source established, that makes it that much harder to fight the fire, said Shawn Gardner, Bennington Rural Fire Department chief. The fire has the upper hand.
The temperature read four below zero at midday after responders from Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York arrived about three and a half hours earlier. Firefighters found respite at the American Legion next door to escape the cold -- maybe more menacing than the fire. But the chief said this fire might have been tough enough without Arctic air. The store was packed full of furniture, pretty much like a tinder box, he said.
The flames that continued to burn in to the early afternoon symbolic of what was lost, but the business owner says despite that, he's going to look to rebuild.
My employees, Christopher LaFlamme thought, I'll be working very diligently to see what can be done for them and that's where my priorities will lie for the next short time.
LaFlamme owns a few other furniture stores in Vermont and Washington County, New York. He and his wife opened this one about a year and a half ago.
My faith is in something much larger than a business or a building, LaFlamme said. Obviously I was concerned, but I was just trying to rest in that peace.
He's also thankful at the same time for the crews who battled the bitter temperatures as well as the flames.
Investigators say a cause of the fire has not yet been determined. We're told what's left of the building would be demolished.