Apartment building fire displaces 14 people in Hartford

Vermont State Police Detective Sgt. James Wright throws a chair aside before examining furniture damaged Monday afternoon in a fire at the Pleasant View Motel with Detective Chris Blais, right, during their investigation in Hartford on Tuesday, May 24. The fire destroyed one room and caused limited damage to adjacent areas. , but was contained by Hartford firefighters before spreading. Photo by James M. Patterson/Valley News.

Editor’s Note: This article by Darren Marcy first appeared in the Valley News on May 24.

HARTFORD – A two-alarm fire in an apartment building on Woodstock Road displaced 14 people on Monday evening.

Hartford firefighters responded at 5:42 p.m. Monday at 583 Woodstock Road, where the former Pleasant View Motel had been converted into an 11-room energy-efficient resort. The fire damaged three rooms, but the 14 residents have been forced to find alternative accommodation while the building is made fit for habitation, including the restoration of utilities.

Fire Chief Scott D. Cooney said Tuesday afternoon that a conclusive cause of the blaze has not been determined. The day after the fire, investigators from the Hartford Fire Prevention Division, Hartford Police Department, Vermont State Police and Vermont Fire Safety Division were working at the scene.

The complex, formerly a roadside motel, includes a community kitchen and laundry room and common area.

Cooney said the owner, Lin Chen, from Hanover, told him that 14 people lived in the 11 units.

Complex resident Ryan Deschaux said he lived about five doors down from the rooms that burned. Deschaux has lived there for just over a year and describes the rooms as small efficiencies with bathrooms and refrigerators. He has a microwave in his room.

Deschaux said he had just left for work before the fire, but because people were unsure if he was sleeping, his door was kicked in and his possessions smelled of smoke.

The Red Cross gave him a card which he used to pay for two nights at the Comfort Inn, Deschaux said, and he has family in the area with whom he can temporarily stay. He said he was not told how long it would take before he could go back to his room.

Bryce Jackson said he was in the unit furthest from the fire, but his room still smelled of smoke from repeatedly opening his door to remove some belongings as the flames continued to spread.

Jackson also released his boxer-mix named Brigit.

“The fire (spread) very quickly and they were able to put it out before it destroyed more of another room and the laundry room,” Jackson said.

Cooney said the initial crew did a good job establishing a water line and quickly extinguishing the fire.

The five-person on-duty team from the Hartford Fire Department arrived to find flames coming from Rooms 1 and 2. They were joined by fire departments from communities from New Hampshire to Lebanon and Hanover. Crews also arrived from Norwich, Hartland, Woodstock and Windsor, as well as Plainfield, New Hampshire.

Cooney said the fire was under control at 6:37 p.m., with the majority of fire damage limited to Rooms 1 and 2 and a laundry room.

The building’s electricity had to be cut and must be restored before residents of other rooms can return.

“Once the utilities are fixed, they’re definitely habitable,” Cooney said.

Jennifer Costa, regional director of communications for the Red Cross, said nine adults received help after the fire.

She said if any residents are missing from the scene, they should call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

No injuries were reported among residents or firefighters.

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Filed under:

People and places

Tags: Bryce Jackson, fire, Hartford, Jennifer Costa, Lin Chen, Red Cross, Ryan Deschaux, Scott D. Cooney

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