Firefighters from five departments fought a Christmas Eve house fire on Falls Road that investigators determined was caused by a basement pellet stove, fire officials said Wednesday.
The call came in at 5:15 p.m. Sunday after a neighbor reportedly noticed flames on the porch of the house, a small white farmhouse located near the LaPlatte Nature Park, according to a Shelburne Volunteer Fire Department statement.
Despite initial reports that suggested there may have been someone inside, there were in fact no family members at home when the fire broke out.
The Shelburne Police Department, the first crew to respond to the scene, confirmed this upon arrival. The home is owned by Gary Marcotte, a Shelburne firefighter and his family.
Fire Chief Jerry Ouimet was the first fire officer to arrive on the scene. “There were flames in the basement window under the deck as well as in the front facing window in front of the deck,” Ouimet said.
When engine crews arrived, Shelburne officers entered the first floor, while a second crew from South Burlington entered the basement. Together they successfully controlled and extinguished the fire before much damage was done.
Crews worked on the scene for about two hours, making sure the fire was completely extinguished, including areas inside the walls.
The Shelburne fire crew was assisted by Burlington, Charlotte and Hinesburg fire departments. Ferrisburgh provided station coverage, and Charlotte Rescue was on scene to offer medical assistance, though no injuries were reported.
“Fortunately there were enough people around on a holiday evening that there was quick response and a quick knockdown,” Ouimet said.
A Vermont State Police fire investigator confirmed that the cause of the fire was a problem with a wood pellet stove in the basement, fire officials said. A gap in the seam of a vent pipe on the exterior wall caused heat to build up and transfer to the wood frame, where the burn pattern started, according to Ouimet.
Damage was contained to the basement and to the front room and exterior wall on the first floor.