Bennington, VT – Fire at senior housing complex contained thanks to fire sprinklers; No injuries reported

An emergency response was launched by firefighters, police and rescue personnel Wednesday afternoon after a fire was reported at the 50-unit Brookside Apartments senior housing complex on South Street.

Bennington Fire Chief James Wright said a fire in one of the apartments was called in at 2:55 p.m. The fire was confined to a closet area, he said, and did not cause significant damage.

However, the “sprinkler system did was it is supposed to do,” he said, resulting in smoke and water damage in the apartment on the building’s second level and damage on the ground level when water seeped through the ceiling near the front entrance.

Many residents evacuated when smoke alarms sounded, he said, while others were advised to shelter in place while firefighters dealt with the fire.

Residents standing outside near the parking lot at about 3:30 p.m. said some tenants likely would have required help evacuating because of limited mobility.

Wright said no injuries were reported, but the tenant where the fire occurred was not expected to be able to move back in for a few days. He said the Red Cross was called in the event temporary housing was needed.

Other tenants on the first level were temporarily kept out of their apartments while the water was cleaned up by Bennington Housing Authority personnel, he said.

As to the cause, Wright said, “We are looking at a candle,” which he said the woman said she had lit.

Firefighters were at the scene until shortly after 4 p.m.

The brick complex at 323 South St. has 26 one bedroom apartments and 24 efficiencies on five floors, according to the housing authority’s website. It was constructed in 1975.