UPDATE: New Haven man cited for arson in Wednesday house fire case

“I really can’t say enough about the mutual aid system. We all seem to help each other out, we all have times where we’re short people. The group we have in Addison County is top notch.”
— New Haven Fire Chief Alan Mayer

NEW HAVEN — Vermont State Police on Thursday arrested Gary McIntyre, 77, of New Haven on a charge of first degree arson following an investigation of a house fire that occurred off Route 7 near Hunt Road on Wednesday evening.

No one was home at the time of the fire, though state police identified the victim as Diann McIntyre, 76, of New Haven. Route 7 was closed for less than three hours as firefighters contained the blaze, which resulted in the death of one cat but no other injuries.

The Independent could not immediately determine if the man charged with arson is related to the woman identified by state police as the victim.

The New Haven Volunteer Fire Department was called to action around 6:19 p.m. on Wednesday evening. New Haven Fire Chief Mayer was the first on the scene, and said crews from Vergennes, Middlebury, Bristol and Weybridge were also called to help contain the structure fire.

Mayer said once on the scene, firefighters worked efficiently to contain the blaze.

“It actually went very well. We had heavy fire coming out one window on the front of the house, we were able to hit that very quick, knock that down,” he said of the effort. “We had plenty of manpower.”

The fire chief noted damage to the home was substantial.

“The house basically is a total loss. It’s still standing but there is significant damage,” he said.

Mayer credited the support of other local departments in helping to successfully put out the blaze.

“I really can’t say enough about the mutual aid system. We all seem to help each other out, we all have times where we’re short people. The group we have in Addison County is top notch,” he said. “Something we all should be proud of.”

On Wednesday, Mayer contacted the Vermont State Police’s Department of Public Safety Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit to help determine the origin and cause of the fire. State police conducted a scene examination and determined the fire was caused by direct human involvement.

When the Independent spoke with Mayer on Thursday morning, he said state police were wrapping up their investigation of the incident.

“It is a very suspicious fire. They’re pretty sure they know what the cause was,” he said.

State police’s investigation showed that McIntyre had intentionally set the fire. The New Haven resident was arrested in Burlington on Thursday and cited to appear in Addison County Superior Court on Aug. 21 to answer to the charge of first degree arson.

State police ask that anyone with information regarding this incident contact Detective Sgt. James Wright at the New Haven barracks at 802-388-4919. Individuals can also contact the Vermont Arson Tip Award Program at 800-32-ARSON.

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