Vermont blaze destroys lumber business

Published: Nov. 2, 2023 at 11:37 AM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vermont (WCAX) - A major fire destroyed a Montpelier lumber business Wednesday evening.

Sirens rang out Wednesday evening in Montpelier as smoke and flames billowed into the sky at the rk Miles lumber yard on Stonecutters Way.

Officials said most of the business, formerly Allen Lumber, was destroyed, but that everyone got out safely.

Cumberland Farms employee, Xavier McCafrey was stunned as he watched the fire burn. “I look over to where everyone’s looking at, and I see a plume of smoke and a large building on fire,” McCafrey said. “I came into work thinking this was just going to be a normal night and then this happens. It’s disappointing.”

One witness, who lives right across the river from the fire said she heard explosions, looked outside, and everything was up in smoke.

The City of Montpelier says while the retail store and showroom were spared but the sheds and all the inventory are a total loss. The focus quickly turned to protecting the adjacent Hunger Mountain Co-op and historic Clothespin factory building. Both of those buildings avoided serious damage.

The city also says one of its fire engines went up in flames as it was caught in a wind change that sent the powerful flames toward it.

First responders from at least half a dozen fire departments came to help, including Barre City, Berlin, and Northfield.

Montpelier Police closed area streets to drivers and Green Mountain Power temporarily shut down power to a large section of the downtown.

The fire comes several days after another fire at a downtown business, The Mad Taco, reopened after recovering from flood damage.

Authorities had no immediate word on the cause of the rk Miles fire.