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Firefighters rescue man from burning Route 7 home

FERRISBURGH FIREFIGHTERS BILL Wager and Shane Coyle helped the elderly resident of this house escape from a fire through the front window at around 3 o’clock this morning. Around three dozen firefighters extinguished the fire, but Wager called the structure a total loss. Independent photo/Steve James

FERRISBURGH — Firefighters helped an elderly resident escape from the first floor of a burning home off Route 7 in Ferrisburgh in the predawn hours of Tuesday morning. The man was safe, but the early-morning fire gutted much, if not most, of the farmhouse.

Ferrisburgh Fire Chief Bill Wager said his department was called into action at 3 a.m. to a fire about a mile north of the town’s station and was there within minutes, even though Wager said their response was slowed briefly because the property lacked an identifying 911 sign. The home is just north of Greenbush Road on Route 7’s west side.

In all about three dozen firefighters from Ferrisburgh, Vergennes, Addison, Shelburne and Charlotte responded and were on the scene for a little more than three hours. Route 7 was closed to both north- and southbound traffic for much of that time, Wager said.

Wager said the resident of the home reported the fire, but the man was unable to get out because of his age and because flames had cut him off from the front door.

Wager said he and Ferrisburgh Fire Department Captain Shane Coyle helped the resident out through a window, calling it a “relatively easy” rescue.

“He came right out the front window. He just couldn’t get out himself, and we were able to pull him out,” Wager said.

Wager did acknowledge things might not have gone so well for the resident, who he declined to identify, if firefighters’ response had been delayed.

“It was all timing,” he said. “Circumstances might have been a little different.”

The Charlotte Rescue Squad took the resident to the UVM Medical Center for treatment, and Wager described his condition as “stable when he left the scene.”

Wager said he believed the fire was accidental, and that he suspected a candle was responsible.

He described the aging two-story farmhouse as most likely beyond repair.

“It’s still intact, but it’s heavily damaged. The first floor is heavily gutted, and we had extension into the second floor,” Wager said. “I think based on the age of the structure and the condition of the structure before the fire, now it’s a total loss.”

Wager praised firefighters’ efforts and coordination.

“Everybody did a fine job,” he said. “They worked very well together, and we were able to get an immediate knockdown on the fire.”

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