Firefighters battled a three-alarm fire on School Street in North Woodstock Wednesday morning. (Bob Hookway)
NORTH WOODSTOCK – A pre-dawn fire broke out Wednesday at a School Street apartment house in North Woodstock Village, sending at least a half-dozen Woodstock Inn employees to the street and leaving them without homes as they work the summer season at the inn across the street.
No one was injured, but two pets were lost, according to several tenants and their workmates as they viewed the badly-burned remains of the two-story building that had lost much of its roof by 7 a.m.
"Everything I had is gone. I have no money, I don't even have any underwear," said Rosu Ciprian of Romania, who's working his third summer at the inn.
Meghan Champy of North Woodstock, who also works at the inn, said Ciprian and another Romanian, as well as a worker from Serbia, were among the apartment house tenants.
Ciprian said he had been at a late-night party Tuesday and was headed back to his apartment when he encountered the house engulfed in flames.
Yellow tape across the highway at the intersection of Routes 3 and 112 kept motorists away from the scene as the sun rose over what is usually a bustling summertime village in mid-August, swollen with vacationers and tourists.
The downtown was also taped off at the other end of the fire scene as well as behind the smoldering apartment building.
Fire Chief John McKay was busy directing the numerous firefighters who had arrived from several area departments, and thick black smoke continued to emanate from the top of the building as 8 a.m. approached.
"Oh, man, this is not good! This is not good!" an animated Ciprian said as he walked back and forth inside the inn. He stopped occasionally to go out a side door that opened onto the fire scene and greeted arriving co-workers who came to lend support to their suddenly homeless fellow employees.