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Trio of fires bedevil Alburg PDF Print E-mail
Written by By SUE BOTSFORD, Staff Writer   
Tuesday, January 05, 1999

ALBURG, Vt. — The Alburg Fire Department hadn't had a fire in two months — until this weekend, when they had three in about 24 hours.

"It costs the same," Fire Chief Richard Baker said Monday.

The fires also kept firefighters from the Northern Tier of Clinton County busy, since they provide mutual aid to that area of Vermont. Isle la Motte and Alburg belong to the Clinton County Mutual Aid System.

It started Saturday night when an abandoned mobile home, which was slated to be burned by the department when all the metal had been removed, went up in smoke.

Baker said it was a case of something happening before planned.

Then Sunday, about 6 p.m., a mobile home with an addition burned. Baker said he is not sure of the cause.

Rouses Point, North Hero, Vt., and Swanton, Vt., departments helped battle that one.

The worst one was reported shortly before 11 p.m. Sunday. It was the main building at the Alburg Country Club. Baker said the country club and golf course are on Route 129, the road to St. Anne's Shrine.

The building was an old farmhouse with an addition.

"This time of the year is not great for fighting fires," Baker said.

In addition to the slick roads, caused by the snow, sleet and freezing rain plus dropping temperatures, water was a problem, Baker said.

It took 1,500 feet of fire hose to get to Lake Champlain to draw water, but the shallowness of the lake there was another difficulty. Trucks had to get out onto the frozen surface to get to the water.

Baker said that once the line was established, the fire effort went much better.

"We weren't going to save anything anyway," he said of the blaze.

The location of the building is rather remote, so the fire was not detected early. It probably was caused when heaters were set up the thaw frozen pipe, Baker said. When the person monitoring the heater returned after an absence, the building was ablaze.

Alburg was assisted by Rouses Point, Champlain, Chazy, South Hero, North Hero, Grand Isle and Isle la Motte in Vermont.

Every Vermont department in the northern county was there, Baker said. Between 50 and 75 firefighters battled the blaze.

His department returned to its station at about 3:30 a.m.

 

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