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Fire Takes Trailer In Hartland

February 19, 2012 4:43 pm Category: Hartland, News 4 Comments A+ / A-


By Eric Francis
HARTLAND FOUR CORNERS – A fire that broke out first thing on Sunday morning in the trailer park right behind the Skunk Hollow Tavern left a carpenter and his girlfriend homeless.
Joseph Ouellette’s girlfriend had already left for work when neighbors spotted flames rolling from his attached carport at 5:30 a.m. and began frantically pounding on his bedroom window at the opposite end of his trailer from the swiftly expanding fire.
“The carport was fully involved along with the pickup truck that was parked adjacent to it and it was starting into the mobile home when I arrived,” Hartland Chief John Sanders recalled. “There were conflicting reports as to whether or not everyone was out. I arrived in my personal vehicle and confirmed that everybody was indeed out, thanks in great part to the neighbors who did a good job of waking him up.”
“We had an engine on scene about ten minutes later with a full crew and they did an excellent attack and put out the fire with the assistance of Windsor and Hartford,” whose departments sent tankers and engines to the scene on Davis Road.
During the early stages of the fire suppression effort, “We had an immediate concern for two other nearby exposures,” Sanders said. “We had one trailer that was full of exotic birds and a family and we had another trailer that was even closer so we addressed those in our attack strategy,” with crews manning hand lines.
Although the fire did not spread to the other residences, Ouellette’s pickup truck was destroyed and “the trailer is a loss. It’s not livable,” the chief said, describing Ouellette as “distraught” at the extent of the damages, which Vermont State Police Fire Marshal Lt. James Cruise estimated amounted to $75,000 or more worth of losses.
“It is not suspicious. The cause was most likely electric,” Chief Sanders explained, “We were more or less able to identify the area in which the fire probably started,” in the small carpentry workshop that had been set up under the carport.
“We cannot rule out the battery charging system,” for some of the tools as having been the cause, Sanders said.
Volunteers from the American Red Cross were contacted Sunday in an effort to help make arrangements to house the displaced couple.

Fire Takes Trailer In Hartland Reviewed by on . By Eric Francis HARTLAND FOUR CORNERS – A fire that broke out first thing on Sunday morning in the trailer park right behind the Skunk Hollow Tavern left a carp By Eric Francis HARTLAND FOUR CORNERS – A fire that broke out first thing on Sunday morning in the trailer park right behind the Skunk Hollow Tavern left a carp Rating:

Comments (4)

  • Hartland Resident 2

    If you want a fire department that is not an all volunteer department than maybe you should move to a town that has a paid department. It takes awhile for a firefighter to respond when at 5:30 in the morning on a Sunday they must get dressed and then get to the fire department and then respond to the call. As far as the guns are concerned the chief of the fire department is not an insurance agent and how could that person know what weapons were burnt. Also the town manager has no responsability to Mr. Ouellette other than providing town services. Thats why you have insurance.

  • Hartland Resident 2

    Hartland has one of the best volunteer fire departments in the area, or even state. As close as the shed was to the mobile home no one could have put it out. Mobile homes have a lot of glue and plastic that are extremly flamable. You should be thanking the fire department for saving the other mobile homes. They put their life on the line every time they respond to a call.

  • A Concerned Citizen

    I was at the scene of the fire and would like to concur with the previous comment, a neighbor called the Hartland Fire Department and recorded that it took them 33 minutes to arrive and then it took them another 8 or so minutes to get water out of the hose. (although this a volunteer station, the member of the team that controlled the water supply seemed to lack enough training to promptly engage water flow.) By this time Mr. Ouellette’s home was consumed by flames, had the fire department responded more quickly, his home may have been saved with minimal fire damge. Mr. Ouellette was very distraught at the sight of his home going up into flames, he had put years and years of hard work into his home, he had memories, family heirlooms and important documents. I must say, however, that after the firefighters were successful with a flow of water, they did a really nice job of putting the fire out. Personally, I feel as though the town could use a new fire chief, he seemed very uninterested in the family that lost everything and had to be asked to contact the Red Cross. He acted as though he could not be bothered with anything and REFUSED a statement at the request of Mr. Ouellette to claim insurance on his guns for the NRA. Mr. Ouellette then called the Hartland Town Manager who cussed at Mr. Ouellette and also refused a statement and refused to do anything to help. I find this information to be very disturbing and hope that you find it this way as well. I’d like to ask these men how they would feel if the shoe was on the other foot, or, for that matter, anyone else watching their home burning down in front of their eyes.
    I have known Mr. Ouellette for many years and this is a terrible tragedy that could have happened to anyone but it happened to him. I am very disappointed in my town leaders.

    Signed,
    A Concerned Citizen

  • Hartland resident

    The Hartland fire department was by no means prompt to respond. There were 5 calls made to the department.
    The first engine arrived at the scene 33 minutes after the first call. After arriving there were problems with the hose and the release of water. This took them eight and a half minutes to fix.
    Mr. Ouellette is watching his life go up in flames while they try to figure out what is wrong with their equipment. Therefore Mr. Ouellette was VERY distraught. His home is burning and they couldn’t get there equipment to work. They then proceeded to call the Vermont state police due to Mr. Ouellette’s disappointment and frustration for the issue with the equipment.
    Throughout all of this, the fire could have been contained to the carport and shed area and the home could have been saved…. As for the Red Cross. The daughter of the victims had to ask the fire department if they would give her the number to contact the Red Cross for the residence.
    As for a house full of exotic birds. They had two…
    I don’t feel that the fire department was prompt at all. The Vermont standard should have contacted the actual victims of this tragedy before writing this article so that the public has the correct information.
    Signed,
    A witness at the scene.

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