Fire crews battled a blaze at one of the largest employers in the Northeast Kingdom Tuesday night.
The fire at the Ethan Allen furniture plant in Orleans erupted inside two silos.
"When we first arrived on scene we had a working fire -- in the auger that goes from the boiler room to the dust silos," said Asst. Chief Scott Burdick of the Orleans Fire Dept.
An issue with the motor that brings saw dust from the boiler room at the Ethan Allen furniture factory to the silos sparked a flame that within minutes spread to a massive fire, that required hours of work to contain.
"You couldn't see no fire from the outside, or anything. Just a ton of people were watching. You couldn't tell there was a fire you know what I mean?" explained witness Tyler Breault.
Crews from the air and the ground tackled the flames.
"We had an aerial truck set up on each tower -- on each silo. We opened each silo from the top, flooded it from the top. Open the bottom so the water will work its way through and we're just letting it penetrate the sawdust," said Burdick.
Maintenance workers from Ethan Allen say those two silos hold about two and a half 18-wheelers' worth of sawdust.
Front-end loaders will be used through the night to carry the soaking sawdust to the far side of the property and fire crews will stay to make sure nothing that's taken out is at risk of sparking up again.
"That's what maintenance will be working on tonight is digging that sawdust out and we'll be here in case there is any of it burning as they pull it out," said Burdick.
The 400 or so employees at Ethan Allen will be off Wednesday because the furniture plant will not be operating. The silos will be out of commission and maintenance crews will still have to haul all of that sawdust out of there first.
Wednesday, March 12 2014 12:27 AM EDT2014-03-12 04:27:22 GMT
Town meeting day didn't bode well for dozens of school budgets across the state. Now the Burlington City Council is looking to cut costs after voters rejected school spending hikes. The council votedMore >>
Town meeting day didn't bode well for dozens of school budgets across the state. Now the Burlington City Council is looking to cut costs after voters rejected school spending hikes.More >>
Wednesday, March 12 2014 12:26 AM EDT2014-03-12 04:26:45 GMT
The Vermont Senate has loosened restrictions on the state's medical marijuana dispensaries. The bill passed Tuesday allows an unlimited number of qualified Vermonters to access medical marijuana -- removing theMore >>
The Vermont Senate has loosened restrictions on the state's medical marijuana dispensaries.More >>
Wednesday, March 12 2014 12:26 AM EDT2014-03-12 04:26:03 GMT
A St. George man is behind bars accused of stealing from an elderly South Burlington woman. 43-year-old Craig Dubuque was arrested for the alleged financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Police sayMore >>
A St. George man is behind bars accused of stealing from an elderly South Burlington woman.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 11:35 PM EDT2014-03-12 03:35:07 GMT
"You know, people say you might not need it, which is true, but this way you get a choice. I don't have to go out tomorrow," said Lorinda Henry of Milton. Henry says she hit the grocery stores TuesdayMore >>
Parts of Vermont could get up to 24 inches of snow in the coming storm. And VTrans officials are warning drivers they may not be able to keep up with the storm rolling in Wednesday.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 8:02 PM EDT2014-03-12 00:02:07 GMT
"Seems like it was just yesterday. Doesn't seem like it's been two years at all," said Glenda Reandeau of Tupper Lake. Residents of Tupper Lake still have their eyes out for Colin Gillis, a now 20-year-oldMore >>
Colin Gillis of Tupper Lake, N.Y., disappeared two years ago. And authorities are still searching for him. They say the investigation now focuses on tips from the public and from those who were the last to see Gillis.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 6:17 PM EDT2014-03-11 22:17:43 GMT
A Rutland City Police officer is recovering at home after a crash involving his cruiser. Authorities say Officer Adam Lucia was one of two officers responding to an aggravated assault call Monday at TopsMore >>
A Rutland City Police officer is recovering at home after a crash involving his cruiser.More >>