Tag Archives: Vermont

Burlington, VT – Sprinkler system activated for arson fire outside Senator’s office; No injuries reported

A man was arrested Sunday for allegedly lighting a fire outside the Burlington, Vt., office of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), authorities said.

Shant Soghomonian, also known as Michael Soghomonian, is charged with using fire to damage the building, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for Vermont. No injuries were reported, the office said, and a motive remained unclear as of Sunday afternoon.

Soghomonian entered the Church Street building Friday morning and headed directly to the third floor, where Sanders’s Vermont office is located, the U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement. Security video footage showed the 35-year-old man spraying a liquid near the door of the office, then lighting the area with a handheld lighter, the statement added.

A “significant” blaze began, engulfing the door and hindering multiple staffers from fleeing, according to a statement from the Burlington Police Department. Soghomonian then fled the building.

The fire damaged the door’s exterior, and the hallway, and set off the building’s sprinklers. The sprinkler system “largely extinguished the fire,” the police department said. Authorities responded at 10:45 a.m.

Sanders was not present when the incident occurred, according to the police department. The agency did not disclose how many staffers were in the office at the time.

In a statement, the senator said he was “deeply grateful” to local, state and federal law enforcement for responding to the fire.

“I am also thankful that none of the many people who were in the office building at the time of the fire were injured,” he added. “I appreciate the outpouring of support and well-wishes for me and my staff. We are proud to be able to continue to serve Vermonters during these challenging times.”

Soghomonian, previously of the Northridge area of Los Angeles, could face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted. A lawyer “has not yet been identified” for him, the U.S. attorney’s office said in its statement.

Multiple agencies investigated Friday’s incident, including the Burlington Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Vermont State Police and U.S. Capitol Police.

Burlington Mayor Emma Mulvaney-Stanak said in a statement on Sunday that she was grateful for the collaboration, and added that her office “will continue to be in close communication as their office navigates the impacts of this incident.”

South Burlington, VT – Sprinkler system activated for fire at apartment garage; No injuries reported

A car fire inside a South Burlington garage on Monday afternoon closed down a road and forced residents to evacuate an apartment complex.

The call came around 1 p.m. after fire officials were notified the sprinkler and alarm system were activated in the lower level garage at the O’Dell Apartments off Farrell Street.

It’s not clear what started the fire but smoke rose into the upper levels of the building, which forced people out for several hours.

“Obviously, since it’s chilly out, people don’t necessarily want to leave, so it took a little bit of work with help from our police officers to get everyone out of the building,” South Burlington Deputy Fire Chief Chris Corbin said.

Officials say no one was injured and the road has since reopened.

Burlington, VT – Sprinkler system extinguishes arson fire at police department

A fire at the Burlington Police Department was intentionally set, authorities say.

The Burlington Fire Department was dispatched Monday morning around 2 a.m. to the headquarters of the Burlington Police Department at 1 North Ave.

A fire had been set in the lobby, according to the police department, by Stephen A. Romprey, 62, who said later when he was questioned that he was making a point. He set fire to paper in the vestibule which is the only part of the police station that remains open at night. He was taken into custody and charged with second degree arson and reckless endangerment.

By the time fire crews arrived on scene the fire had been put out by the building’s automatic sprinkler system. Due to the amount of smoke the fire had produced, crews evacuated workers from the Emergency Communications Center, which was in a different part of the building. An emergency plan was activated to relocate the dispatch services so that 911 calls were not disrupted.

The fire and sprinkler system caused thousands of dollars in fire and water damage to part of the building, according to Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad. The water from the sprinkler flooded floors in multiple areas. About three hours after the evacuation, the Emergency Communications Center was able to operate out of the BPD building once again.

The police department is considering locking the doors to the vestibule as a result even though it includes a phone the public can use to alert authorities and a warm space that some unhoused use at night. Murad said the department is considering putting a phone on the exterior of the building.

This was the second in about a week’s time that Burlington emergency responders were targeted. On Nov. 5, an ambulance was stolen while on a call, driven about half a mile and crashed into a parked car.

Brattleboro, VT – Sprinkler system activated for fire in parking garage

A car caught on fire in the Transportation Center on Sunday morning, causing damage to others.

“The sprinkler system activated and kept the fire at bay but then the crew that arrived had to finish extinguishing it,” Brattleboro Fire Chief Len Howard said. “So the sprinkler system did its job.”

The fire occurred on the third level of the parking garage on Elliot Street. Emergency personnel received the call at about 6:19 a.m. Sunday.

Howard expects the vehicle that went on fire will be deemed a total loss. Two or three other cars were damaged from the heat, he said.

It’s unclear how the fire started but it’s believed to have originated in the engine compartment. Howard anticipates more details will be released Monday.

The fire isn’t considered suspicious.

Colchester, Vt – Fire contained by sprinkler system

A Colchester Fire District building is closed because of damage from an early morning fire Friday.

The Colchester Fire Department says it responded to the District #2 building just after midnight for a sprinkler/water flow alarm. They say this building shares a parking lot with the Mallets Bay station on Church Road. When they got there, the fire was showing from the roof. Crews say thanks to properly placed sprinkler heads, the fire was able to be contained.

Because of water damage in the office, the building will be closed for an unknown amount of time, but they can still be reached by phone for water-related emergencies.

The cause is currently under investigation but is not considered suspicious.

St. Johnsbury, VT – Sprinkler system activated for dryer fire at senior care facility; No injuries reported

Senior residents of the Canterbury Inn Residential Care facility in St. Johnsbury are being housed in a hotel after a fire this weekend.

Fire officials say the fire started Sunday night in the laundry room and was contained to only that room.

After interviews with the building owner, officials say he started a gas fired clothes dryer and 15 minutes later, the fire alarm went off.

Crews are now working on removing residual smoke from the building.

No one was injured during the fire.

Officials say if the building didn’t have functioning fire sprinkler and fire alarms systems, it could have been a different outcome.

According to the facility, residents are staying at the Comfort Inn and will be back as soon as it is deemed safe.

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.

Bennington, VT – Fire at J.C. Penny maintained by fire sprinklers; No injuries reported

 A suspected electrical fire at J.C. Penney on Saturday morning resulted in heavy smoke and water damage but no injuries, officials say.

Bennington Rural Fire Chief Joey Hayes confirmed his department received the call for the fire, which started at about 8:15 a.m. Saturday.

“It was a clothing rack that caught fire,” he said. Crews contained the fire within 10 minutes, and remained on scene for about another four hours. About 50 people responded.

Officials are “leaning towards” the fire being electrical, Hayes said.

Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette confirmed there were no injuries in the fire.

Besides Bennington Rural, Hayes requested crews respond from the Bennington Fire Department and North Bennington Fire Department.

“This being the holiday weekend [and] not knowing who’s around,” he said.

When crews arrived, the fire was visible from the front of the store, he said.

“By the time we got into where the fire was, the sprinkler system went off,” Hayes said. Crews used only about 100 gallons of water to put out the fire.

“The sprinkler did its job maintaining it,” he said. “We had to use very minimum water.”

The building sustained heavy smoke and water damage, but “very light” fire damage, he said.

“The smoke was throughout the whole building,” he said. “They had water damage. The sprinkler system went off. They had to get all the water cleaned up and everything.”

Hayes said the store was closed Saturday and Sunday. The store manager said on Facebook Sunday that the store remained closed while cleanup was being completed.

The fire is no longer being investigated by the fire department, Hayes said. It is not considered suspicious.

Williston, VT – Sprinkler system activated after minor explosion at cosmetics business

Fire and rescue responded Tuesday morning after a small explosion at a cosmetics business in Williston caused a fire.

One person suffered minor injuries and burns from the fire. They were checked out at the scene and did not need to be brought to the hospital.

The building’s sprinkler system assisted firefighters in fully containing the fire.

Fire officials believe they know what caused the fire.

“They used Isopropyl alcohol as a cleaner as part of their processes and one of the alcohol bottles had in fact caught on fire and that had a minor explosion inside the building,” said South Burlington Fire Department’s Tim Gerry.

Fire officials say the building is being ventilated and they monitored the building’s air quality. Repairs need to be made before the business can get back up and running.

Montpelier, VT – Fire on fourth floor of downtown office building extinguished by sprinkler system

A small fire broke at the National Life Building in Montpelier Saturday. According to firefighters, the call came in around 2:45 p.m. for smoke on the 4th floor of the Davis Building. that section of the building houses state offices. Multiple departments responded to the scene. A National Life spokesperson say the building’s sprinkler system activated and extinguished the fire. There is considerable water damage on the east side of the second, third and fourth floors of the Davis building. There were no injuries. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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