Neighbors, friends honor Special Olympian killed in fire - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Neighbors, friends honor Special Olympian killed in fire

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"You always got the straight shot from Scotty. He had a heart as big as the world -- and he was happy," said Richard Frantz, a Special Olympics coach.

The Special Olympics in Burlington is usually filled with smiles and cheers.  But on Sunday it took a moment to remember and honor the tragic loss of Scotty Moffitt. Moffitt, who was in his mid-thirties, was an athlete in the Special Olympics program for over thirty years and his coaches say he was a part of their family.

"And to say that we miss about him would be an understatement -- but I'm telling you he is absolutely here and he's got front row seats to this event today," said Chris Lance, a Special Olympics Program Coordinator.

Tragedy struck just before 11 a.m. Saturday when the Bennington Fire Department responded to a house fire on Lincoln Street. Fire officials say the two-story home was fully engulfed when they arrived.

"We were informed that they were out. They were helped out by people that first noticed the fire -- passersby -- and they were taken to the hospital. We were informed that there may be one individual left inside the building," said Bennington Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Vickers.

It was Scotty Moffitt who didn't make it out. Officials said his father, Larry, jumped from a window on the second story of the home.  His mother, Patricia, was helped out the front door. Deputy chief says responders tried to go back in, but the fire was progressing too rapidly.  As of Sunday evening-- investigator were still trying to determine the cause.  

"We attempted to make entry at that time but due to the fire conditions it was difficult -- we weren't able to make much progress. So pulled back out and looked for another point of entry possibly, but the back of the building was well involved at that point," Deputy Chief Vickers said.

Witnesses said the street was covered in thick, black smoke and the flames roared through the house. Officials said it was over an hour before the fire was under control.  Two family dogs also perished in the fire.

Officials say Patricia Moffitt was transported to a Massachusetts medical facility for burns.  Larry Moffitt was treated for his injuries and released.

"He was a happy kid -- very happy. He used to go to summer camp with the Elks. He was a good kid. He couldn't do a lot, but he did a lot," said Barbara Tremblay, a neighbor.

On Sunday neighbors stopped by the house, some leaving flowers at a makeshift memorial to send their prayers to the family and honor the life lost.

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