House Fire on Juniper Ridge Road
From the Essex Junction Fire Department
At roughly 1203 hours on Tuesday, July 3rd, one of our members happened to stop by the fire station during his day. As the firefighter was in the station, he answered the station phone to find a female shouting that her garage was on fire at 12 Juniper Ridge Road in the Village of Essex Junction. The firefighter immediately contacted Essex Dispatch in order to have Essex Fire and Essex Junction Fire be dispatched to the call. Before leaving the station, personnel requested mutual aid from Williston Fire with a Tower as well as Saint Michael's Fire with an Engine.
Ladder 3 was en route to the fire with a crew of three within three minutes of dispatch. As Ladder 3 turned onto Main Street, a significant column of black smoke could be seen towering over the Fairview neighborhood. Seeing this, Lieutenant Gragg (the officer on L3), requested working incident tones be put out for both departments for a working fire.
Ladder 3 arrived on the scene moments later to find a two story, wood frame, single family dwelling with significant fire showing from the garage. The garage was so well involved it had begun to collapse and the fire was spreading into the attic of the residence.
The crew of L3 immediately went to work; the lineman stretched an attack line and made a quick knock on the garage while the Lieutenant prepared to make entry into the residence and pulled a second attack line. The operator of L3 assisted in stretching a line and then established a water supply utilizing a (conveniently) nearby hydrant. The lineman and Lieutenant on L3 then made entry into the residence to the second floor in an effort to stop progress of the fire through the attic.
As the crew made entry, Essex Fire Car 10 arrived on the scene with Captain Sheeran establishing command. Engine 5 arrived moments later, with the Lieutenant on E5 immediately taking the second attack line to continue working on the garage and side of the neighboring residence.
As the crew from L3 worked on the second floor, the fire progressed through the rest of the attic, breaking out of the roof in multiple spots. At this point, the operator of L3 had thrown ground ladders for egress and was working to place the aerial to the roof. The decision was made to briefly pull personnel out of the building and let the aerial master stream knockdown the remaining fire in the roof due to staffing and crew exhaustion.
As this was occurring, Williston Fire Tower 1 arrived on the scene and was positioned so that they could utilize their aerial master stream for the gable end of the home, also to assist in knocking down a large amount of the fire. Also, Essex Fire apparatus as well as Saint Michael's were arriving on the scene with fresh personnel. Underhill-Jericho Fire was also requested to the scene with an engine and manpower due to the extreme heat.
The bulk of the fire was extinguished within the first 20 minutes on the scene. One resident was transported to the UVMMC by Essex Rescue for a burn injury.
Crews would work for the next four hours extinguishing hot spots, overhauling the structure and salvaging what belongings we could. Fire damage was contained to the garage, attic and second floor. The first floor and basement sustained severe water damage from firefighting efforts.
Your EJFD respond with Engine 5, Engine 21, Ladder 3 and Utility 61 with a total of 11 personnel. EJFD was assisted by Essex Fire Department, Williston Fire Department, Saint Michael's College Fire and Rescue, Colchester Center Volunteer Fire Fighters' Association Inc. CCVFC, UJFD, Essex Rescue, Inc., Essex Police Department and investigators from the Vermont State Police. A big shout out to ERS members and EPD officers who assisted with ensuring firefighters were hydrated and had an area for rehab in the front yard!
The cause of the fire is believed to have been accidental at this time.
This was also a great reminder to call 911 and NOT your local fire station in case of an emergency. Most departments in the State of Vermont are volunteer, meaning no one is at the fire station at any given time. EJFD is a "paid on call" department, meaning that members are compensated for their time when they respond to fire calls. Our members carry radios and pagers and must respond to the station for emergency calls in order to get their gear and an apparatus. Had our firefighter not randomly been at the fire station, the delay in our response could have been much longer.