New England Newspapers
POWNAL, Vt. -- An early morning blaze that firefighters believe was caused by children playing with a lighter has left a mother and her three children homeless.
Firefighters were called to lot 36 of the Green Mountain Mobile Home Park off Route 7 on Tuesday at 7:45 a.m. They found a mobile home completely engulfed in flames, according to Pownal Valley Fire Department Chief Joel Howard. He said everyone escaped uninjured, but the home was destroyed.
"The best we can figure is one of the kids was playing with a lighter and set the back of a recliner on fire," said Howard.
The mother, Susan Hall, lived in the home with three children, ages 7, 4, and 2. Howard said the children gave conflicting stories about how the fire started.
Howard said flames were knocked down quickly, but firefighters remained on scene to make sure it was out. No other buildings were harmed and a nearby vehicle sustained only minor damage when a plastic panel got hot and fell off. "For how bad it was going when we got there, it was a phenomenal stop," Howard said.
The Red Cross is providing the family with food, clothing, and shelter.
"This family was provided financial assistance to help replace food and clothing lost in the blaze," the Red Cross wrote in a release.
"They have already made alternate, temporary arrangements for lodging."
Howard said Pownal Valley, Pownal, Bennington Village, and Williamstown, Mass., fire departments responded to the scene. A total of seven fire trucks and about 30 firefighters were involved.
This is the second fire in recent weeks for Pownal. The last was at a rental home on Jackson Crossing Road that left a young couple in need of Red Cross services and killed two pets. That fire was caused by an unlit candle left on a furnace, which turned on automatically and unexpectedly, melting the candle.