Fire damages Middlebury store

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury and New Haven firefighters on Monday evening quickly extinguished a blaze within Champlain Valley Equipment’s (CVE) repair shop at 453 Exchange St., a fire that did some significant damage to the interior of the facility and to some equipment that was housed there.
Middlebury Fire Department Assistant Chief David Shaw said firefighters were toned out to the business at around 6:30 p.m. Approximately 30 Middlebury firefighters responded, along with 20 from New Haven, according to Shaw.
Firefighters had the blaze put down within a half-hour and remained on scene for several hours thereafter. While Shaw termed the fire damage “extensive,” he said he believed the repair shop could be salvaged.
Store officials suspect the fire might have been triggered by an electrical short in a used piece of equipment in the repair shop.
The fire comes at the same time CVE is having two additions built onto its Middlebury store, one of four company locations statewide. Brian Carpenter, president and general manager of CVE, said the expansion project will go on as scheduled while repairs are simultaneously made to the fire-damaged repair shop.
Carpenter said much of the fire damage to the building is confined to insulation and roofing. He acknowledged the loss of some store inventory.
“It all replaceable stuff,” he said, adding the company has insurance he hopes will cover the damage.
“It’s fortunate that a few people were still here working (to discover the fire),” Carpenter said. He noted the expansion project will include fire alarms throughout the building.
“We’re very appreciative of the Middlebury and New Haven fire departments and their rapid and professional response,” Carpenter said.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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