Residents safe, 3 dogs perish in Chester house fire

The resident of 35 Circle Drive escaped the fire Tuesday night. Photo by Shawn Cunningham.

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Three residents of home at 35 Circle Drive in Chester escaped a fire last night but three of their five pets perished, said Chester Fire Chief Matt Wilson this morning.

Wilson told The Telegraph that the call came in at 10:32 p.m. Tuesday for a structure fire with entrapment off of Route 103 South. Because he lives nearby, Wilson said he went directly to the house and found that the residents — John O’Neil, Anita Hayes and Chad Hayes — had escaped, but there were still four dogs and a cat in the house.

At that point, the fire was confined to a bedroom where it apparently started and the house was full of smoke. When firefighters arrived they made an “interior push,” according to Wilson and searched for the pets. They were able to bring out the cat and three of the four dogs. One dog was not found.

Firefighters tried to save two of the three dogs by giving them oxygen, but they died on the scene. The residents were taken to Springfield Hospital with smoke inhalation and one suffered from hypothermia. There were no injuries among the fire crews.

State fire investigators visited the home this morning and Wilson said the fire did not appear to be suspicious. He noted that an oxygen machine appeared to be involved, but it was unclear how. Wilson said that while it was difficult to estimate the amount of damage to the home, he “would consider it a total loss. Fire was contained to one room and attic, but the smoke and heat damage to the rest of the house is very extensive.”

In addition to Chester Fire and Ambulance, fire companies from Proctorsville, Springfield, Bellows Falls, Rockingham, Grafton, Ludlow and Ascutney were at the scene while Reading and West Weathersfield covered the Chester station.

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  1. Melody Reed says:

    What Cindy Adams said. I’m sure a lot of folks would like to help this family.

  2. Cindy Adams says:

    I have been through this type of fire personally.PLEASE reach out to people and make your needs known with a drop off place. Many caring people will help. We thought our fur kitty died in the fire. 4 days later he showed back up at our house site!