Fire at Weybridge Street house displaces five Middlebury College students

MIDDLEBURY — A seven-alarm fire at a home on Weybridge Street in Middlebury on Saturday evening had firefighters from all over Addison County working into Sunday morning to extinguish the blaze.

The Middlebury Fire Department received a call at 8 p.m. about a fire at a three-story building, located at 107 Weybridge St., used as an apartment by five Middlebury College students. All five escaped the fire unharmed.

Middlebury Fire Department Chief David Shaw said roughly 75 firefighters responded to the scene from Middlebury, Vergennes, Bristol, New Haven, Weybridge, Salisbury and Cornwall. The first truck arrived on the scene in less than five minutes, he said.

Upon arriving, Shaw received word that one occupant was unaccounted for and thought to still be located on the second floor. A team of firefighters entered the building through heavy smoke to search for the individual while a second team moved to the site of the fire, located near the back of the building. After the missing person was located outside, firefighters began suppressing the fire.

Firefighters attempted to use the fire hydrant closest to the house, but found it inoperable. Since full tankers from Cornwall and Weybridge were on-site, Shaw said the inoperable fire hydrant did not add to the time it took to get water flowing. Several tankers full of water were used to extinguish the blaze.

Firefighters were on site 16 hours into Sunday morning.

Working in freezing temperatures caused issues with frozen equipment and raised concerns about slips and falls. The only reported injury was one firefighter complaining of chest pains; he was taken to Porter Hospital and later released.

The three-story structure sustained heavy damage from the fire but Shaw said it was not a total loss.

The cause of the fire is undetermined but Assistant State Fire Marshal Paul S. Spicer, who is investigating the incident, said that the cause was not suspicious. Shaw said the fire appears to have started on a back porch.

The quaint yellow house with the brown mansard roof was owned by Andy McCabe, according to Shaw. McCabe could not immediately be reached by the Independent.

Middlebury College on Sunday said the administration was looking for housing for the five students and to assess their longer-term needs as a result of what was lost in the fire. A spokeswoman for the college said all five students were given on-campus housing on Sunday.

Editor's note: This story was updated after its original posting to add the information that Middlebury College had found on-campus housing for the students whose lodgings had been damaged by the fire. The headline was also updated to reflect that.

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Addison County Independent

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