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State police detectives are currently investigating the causes of two consecutive fires that consumed a house at 338 Dean’s Mountain Road in Moretown on Saturday, July 28, as they suspect the fires could have been lit intentionally.
At approximately 10:26 p.m., the Moretown Fire Department arrived at 338 Dean’s Mountain Road and saw smoke and flames inside the residence. The fire department was able to extinguish the fire and contain the damage caused by it to a few rooms within the house. To ensure the fire had not extended to other portions of the house, the department utilized thermal imaging cameras to check for "hot spots" and they found none.
The Moretown fire chief had some firefighters stay at the scene for approximately four hours after extinguishing the fire to ensure that it did not "re-kindle.” Once the firefighters were sure the fire was completely out, they left the scene at 2:30 a.m. and returned to the fire station.
About an hour later, at approximately 3:26 a.m., the fire department was dispatched again to 338 Dean's Mountain Road. When they arrived on the scene the second time, firefighters found that the opposite end of the house was on fire. The Moretown Fire Department requested mutual aid from Waitsfield-Fayston and Warren Fire Departments.
As firefighters began fighting the second fire, they discovered the propane tank valve that supplies the house with propane gas was turned on. This appeared suspicious, as the fire department had shut the valve off while fighting the first fire and confirmed the propane was off before leaving the scene.
The fire departments were able to extinguish the second fire, but the house has been completely destroyed. There were no injuries as the result of the fire, but damage estimates are in excess of $450,000.
The Moretown Fire Department contacted the Vermont State Police and requested an origin and cause investigation be conducted. A state police detective from the Fire Investigation Unit and a Fire Investigator from the Division of Fire Safety responded to the scene on July 31 and again on August 2. After an extensive investigation, they determined the second fire was intentionally set. The cause of the first fire is still being investigated.
The state police is asking anyone with information to call the Vermont Arson Tip Award Program at 1-800-32ARSON (up to a $5,000 reward) or the Middlesex State Police Barracks.