Thu, Jan 9, 2014 11:47 AM
Photo by Erin Mansfield
The remains of Floormaster and SafeLite AutoGlass, Rutland
businesses that burned on New Year's eve.
A New Year's Eve fire destroyed two businesses on Route 4 East
in Rutland Town.
The building, home to Floormaster and SafeLite AutoGlass, showed
little more than charred beams and a crooked sign on New Year's
The site is located behind Little Caesar's Pizza, diagonally
across from Rutland High School's Alumni Field on Route 4.
The Rutland Town Fire Department received the call about the fire
shortly after 4 p.m. on Dec. 31 from an employee of SafeLite
AutoGlass, according to Rutland Town Fire Chief Joe Denardo. The
department immediately called in help from Rutland City and
Pittsford fire departments.
"We were hoping for a quick response and maybe a quick knockdown,"
Denardo said, who reported that there were 30 to 35 firefighters on
the scene. "Sometimes if you can get a crew in fast you can get it
before it spreads too much… but, it was just in a place where it
was inaccessible." He suspects that the fire was caused by a heater
and does not believe its cause to be suspicious.
"I got a call saying my building was on fire," said Mark Stoutes,
owner of Floormaster. "I actually live in Tinmouth. By the time I
got there the whole thing was engulfed in flames."
"When they [the firefighters] got there it was confined to one
small back section of the building," he said, "so I was pretty
shocked by the time I got there to see the building pretty much
"The good thing is nobody got hurt," Stoutes added.
Floormaster, which was located on the left-hand side of the
building, is a small business with three employees that services
all types of floors, including carpeting and hardwood-from sanding
to finishing-according Stoutes. The business also had a residential
showroom in Ludlow that closed down earlier in 2013.
Stoutes has been in business for 25 to 30 years. He is planning to
open the business back up in the future but is unsure where or
"I've had a lot of friends offer buildings and stuff," he said,
"and the reaction of everybody has been great."
The other half of the burned building was occupied by SafeLite
AutoGlass, a windshield company based out of Columbus, Ohio.
"We are thankful no one was injured in the fire," a spokesperson
said in a statement. "We are working on acquiring temporary space
until the facility is rebuilt. We're still able to provide mobile
service, so there should be no significant impact to our ability to
serve customers in the area."
Since the New Year there have been a disproportionate amount of
fires around the state, destroying buildings and threatening lives
and livelihoods. The Red Cross responded to 10 in the first seven
days of the year. Central Vermont has reported four already in
2014. In addition to the Rutland Town fire on Route 4. Saturday,
Jan. 4., at 12-noon dozens of firefighters from nine towns battled
fire and ice while trying to extinguish a blaze that consumed a
barn on Candlestick Lane in Poultney.
Later that day, another fire damaged a home at 47 West St. in
Proctor, where firefighters from three towns quickly doused a blaze
inside a two-story home. A heater inside the building was
responsible for starting the blaze.
The day before, Friday, Jan. 3, area firefighters from six
departments battled temperatures that hovered at 6 below zero when
a fire broke out at a home at 601 Main Street. The fire was later
traced to a wood stove.
Also on Friday, a fire also struck the Laflammes furniture
store in Bennington. (Laflammes also has a branch in Rutland.) The
furniture store is a Bennington landmark because it is the home of
the "Big Chair," which rises almost 20 feet high and might be the
largest chair of its kind. The fire did not damage the chair.
This past Monday, Jan. 6, the most deadly fire yet this year, took
a elderly father and a his son's life in Dummerston.
Investigation into fatal fire
DUMMERSTON - On Monday, Jan. 6 at approx. 5 a.m., firefighters and
police responded to call at 420 School House Road in
During the response, Russell Nutbrown, age 90, and Russell's son,
Barry Nutbrown, age 57, were located deceased inside of the
residence. The bodies of both men were transported to the Vermont
Office for the Chief Medical Examiner for autopsy.
The fire was initially reported at 4:41 a.m. and fire personnel
from four Fire Departments responded immediately. The fire
destroyed the residence, but firefighters were able to contain it
preventing damage to the surrounding residences.
An investigation into the cause of the fire and resulting deaths
is being conducted.
At this time the fire is not considered suspicious, pending the
completion of the autopsies and fire investigation.
Both father and son were well-known musicians, locals