Fire in Newport, Breault Home

Staff Writer

SUMMARY OF INCIDENT:
At approximately 5:56 AM on 11/10/18, the Newport City Fire Department was notified of a structure fire with some of the occupants trapped inside at 48 Pond Street in Newport. This two story home was a duplex owned by Clarence Breault who lived on one side, while his sister, Rose Breault, lived on the other. Upon the Newport City Fire Department’s arrival they encountered a two-story structure with basement that had flames on all floor levels of the home. Due to the close proximity of some neighboring homes the fire fighters quick suppression efforts kept the fire from spreading to any other nearby structures. Once the blaze was under control the Newport City Fire Chief, James LeClair, assessed the scene and contacted the VT Department of Public Safety Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit for assistance with the origin and cause determination. Investigators from the VT State Police and VT Division of Fire Safety responded to the scene and confirmed Chief LeClair’s determination that the fire originated in the basement near a large wood stove/boiler.
The investigation showed the fire originated in the ceiling area of the basement directly above the wood stove. The clearance from the wood stove to the ceiling joists and floor above was incredibly close to the hot wood stove and after years of heating by the wood stove, the combustible wood material finally caught fire. The home owner, Clarence Breault, had stoked the wood stove in the basement at approximately 3:00 AM. Around 4:30 he began to smell smoke inside the house. At some point between 5:15 and 5:30 Clarence Breault discovered the ceiling area above the wood stove in the basement was on fire. He attempted to extinguish the fire himself by using a garden hose but the fire spread much too rapidly. He was able to call 911 at 5:56 AM and ask for the fire department’s assistance. The fire spread to the rest of the house and the wood frame home is considered a total loss. This fire is currently classified as accidental.
The Department of Public Safety Fire & Explosion Unit recommends all homes be equipped with smoke detectors and CO detectors on all floor levels. If a fire is detected it is best to call 911 and get out of the home as quickly as possible while closing all doors, if possible, behind you.
Anyone with information regarding this fire is asked to contact the Newport City Fire Department at 802-334-7919 or Detective Sergeant Todd Ambroz at 802-878-7111.

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