On Saturday November 14th at approximately 0400 (0356) Essex Junction Fire was dispatched along with automatic mutual aid From Essex Fire for a car fire at 7 Densmore Drive. While call staff responded to the station Essex Police reported the fire to be spreading to additional vehicles, threatening propane cylinders and then spreading to the building. The Fire Chief responded in Car 9 Closely followed by Engine 5 with 5 personnel. Chief arrived on scene and reported arriving conditions as a fully involved structure fire of the car port at the address threatening three adjacent building exposures. The car port is known to the EJFD to be an open wood framed structure approximately 130 feet in length housing cars and storage units.
Engine 5 arrived on scene approximately 5 minutes after the time of call and the crew immediately went to work on the more heavily involved west side of the structure deploying two 1.75" hand lines, a 2.5" handline and a 2.5" blitz gun while establishing a water supply conveniently located at the address. The crew made a direct attack while also applying the coverage to the west and south exposures along with several cars in the parking lot.
Essex Town Engine 3 arrived shortly behind Engine 5 and established a secondary water supply from Brickyard Road. Essex Town units were put to work on the east side of the fire building. Essex Junction Ladder 3 arrived with Essex Engine 3 and the crew was assigned to assist Engine 5 with suppression. The Ladder 3 crew put in service two additional 1.75" lines from Engine 5 now flowing approximately 1,350 gallons per minute of water to significant fire load on the west side of the fire. Approximately 20 minutes after Engine 5 made the initial attack the fire was under control. Crews worked for an additional 2 hours performing overhaul before the fire was declared fully extinguished. The fire building and its contents are a total loss.
The extreme heat of the fire due to the variety of fuels and free burning environment, spread was prevented but damage was sustained to the condo buildings on all three sides of the fire building. Siding, shutters and roof shingles had melted and numerous windows had broken out all from the heat. Approximately a dozen cars in the parking lot outside of the fire building were also damaged. The heat also caused mild damage to Engine 5. The extreme heat caused 5 Essex Junction Fire personnel to suffer first and some small second degree burns that were treated on scene.
Essex Police were on scene to assist EJFD with the investigation into the cause. The Vermont State Police and Vermont Division of Fire Safety were also called to the scene to assist. The fire remains under investigation at this time and the fire has been declared suspicious in nature. If you have any information please contact the Essex Police Department.
Thank you to Colchester Fire for providing station coverage for Essex Junction Fire for the duration of the incident.