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Blaze gets a head start on firefighters in Monroe
MONROE – Firefighters from several North Country departments had a frustrating time Thursday as they tried to save a 158-year-old home on Route 135 north of Monroe Village.
The cape-style home was already well on its way to destruction when firefighters arrived at mid-day, with flames evident and thick smoke pouring from the upper windows of the two-story home.
The metal roof prevented heat from escaping and helped keep the home's interior an inferno throughout the firefighting effort. The stairway to the second floor had been destroyed before firefighters made their first attack on the flames.
For much of their time on the scene, there was little most firefighters could do but watch the building burn, although an effort was made to shoot water from fire hoses through the doorways. Woodsville Fire Chief Brad Kennedy, who was in charge of the effort, deemed conditions far too unsafe to risk sending personnel inside.
“There's a lot of smoke, and it's just too hot. It doesn't make sense to send anyone in. It'll end where it ends. We're just going to drown it now. The fire marshal will be here,” said Kennedy, who said it was too early Thursday afternoon to try to determine a cause.
No one was home when the fire broke out, and there were no pets living at the home, according to Nathan Leonard, 20, who said he grew up in the house that's owned by his parents, who now live in New York.
“Yeah, I've lived here for 20 years. I grew up in Monroe,” he said, as he and the home's other resident, Logan Onks, sat on the ground out of the way of firefighters and watched the building burn.
“It was built in 1854; this house has seen a lot of people go through here,” said Leonard, a 2011 graduate of St. Johnsbury Academy in Vermont, who said the home was insured.
Leonard said he works in St. Johnsbury as an auto mechanic and was notified Thursday while on the job that his home was on fire.
“I don't know what happened. It might have been electrical. It's a very old house,” he said.
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