Cavendish home heavily damaged in morning fire

Firefighters work to douse the fire at the Main Street Cavendish home. All photos by Shawn Cunningham.

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

More than a dozen fire departments responded to fight a house fire on Rt. 131 this morning in Cavendish.

At around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Cavendish and Proctorsville fire departments were called to 997 Main St. in Cavendish for a building that was fully involved in fire.

According to Proctorsville Fire Department Deputy Chief Bob Glidden Jr., the fire appeared to have started in the garage.

Smoke engulfs the building and firefighters.

“When the owner left the house, he left the front door open and that let air into the fire,” said Glidden. “Then the garage doors collapsed and gave the fire more air.”

Homeowner Mario Gattorna told The Telegraph that he was awakened by the smell of smoke and quickly left the building. Upon arriving, the fire department upgraded the fire to a second, then a third alarm. At about 9:30 a.m. the roof partially collapsed.

“What we have here now is the equivalent of a 4 or 5 alarm fire,” said Glidden, explaining that the temperatures hovering around 80 degrees and the high humidity were quickly exhausting firefighters.

A firefighter takes a breather.

Interior crews were also using up their air supplies until a “cascade” system from the Windsor Fire Department arrived to refill air bottles.

Gattorna was alone in the house at the time of the fire and a pet cat was outdoors and hiding during the fire. As of 10:45 a.m., no injuries had been reported, although there was an unconfirmed report of a firefighter being treated for heat. Damage to the log home was substantial.

Proctorsville Fire Chief Bob Glidden Sr. said that there would be a cause and origin investigation when the fire is extinguished.

In addition to Proctorsville and Cavendish fire crews, responding to the fire were Rockingham, West Windsor, Windsor, Weston, West Weatherfield, Ludlow, Chester, Springfield, Westminster, Bellows Falls, and North Walpole and Walpole in New Hampshire as well as Windsor Ambulance, Ludlow Ambulance and the Red Cross.

As soon as they could, firefighters shed heavy turnout gear to cool off.

The log home was severely damaged.

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