Accidental fire destroys home of Mount Abe principal

A SATURDAY EVENING fire destroyed a home on Plank Road in Ferrisburgh, owned by Mount Abraham Union High School Principal Shannon Warden. No humans were injured, but three dogs were killed in the blaze and the structure is considered a total loss. Photo courtesy of Vergennes Volunteer Fire Department

FERRISBURGH — A weekend fire destroyed the Ferrisburgh home of Mount Abraham Union High School Principal Shannon Warden.

Warden discovered the fire when she returned to the single-family dwelling on Plank Road on Saturday evening. No injuries were reported, but three dogs were killed in the blaze and the structure is considered a total loss, according to Vergennes Fire Chief David DiBiase.

“As the shock waxes and wanes, I’m coming to the realization that I have lost a lifetime of memories, belongings and the pride I had in buying my first home independently,” Warden wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday.

In the social media post, Warden expressed gratitude for area firefighters’ swift response to the blaze and grieved the loss of her three dogs: Paisley, Moxie and Hadley.

“I don’t think we fully appreciate the unconditional love of our four leggeds until they’re no longer with us. It was the worst feeling to open the door of my burning home and not have any of them greet me at the door or let out their ‘happy you’re home!’ barks and yips,” she wrote.

DiBiase said his department was called into action at 7:21 p.m. on Saturday for an active structure fire and arrived at the scene seven minutes later. The Ferrisburgh, New Haven and Addison fire departments were also called in, as well as the Vergennes Area Rescue Squad and Charlotte Fire and Rescue.

THE BLAZE IS believed to have been caused by a short in the home’s main electrical service.
Photo courtesy of Vergennes Volunteer Fire Department

Crews were able to contain the blaze in about an hour, according to DiBiase. However, the fire reignited early Sunday morning.

“We got called back at 5:30 a.m. the next morning for a rekindle. At that time, we saw the entire structure to be fully involved with fire through the roof,” DiBiase said.

The Vergennes fire chief noted that the home was considered a complete loss prior to the rekindling, though the later burning caused additional damage to the roof of the structure.

Addison County Firefighters Association Fire investigators were at the scene on Saturday and determined the fire was caused by a short in the main electrical service between the electrical meter and the panel.

Warden’s sister Donna Warden Gerhart launched a GoFundMe fundraising effort for Shannon Warden on Sunday.

“All she has left is the clothing she was wearing,” Gerhart wrote in her appeal.

As of Tuesday morning the site had raised $15,436 from 197 donors. To view the appeal go online to


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