At around 1:15 a.m. Sunday, the Albany Volunteer Fire Department found themselves fighting a fire they never expected -- and weren't prepared for.
"When we seen flames coming out of engine one, we knew we had problems," said Albany Volunteer Fire Chief Donald Peters.
The station was engulfed in flames in a matter of minutes. Later that morning, firefighters said fighting their own fire was a challenge -- as their equipment burned inside."You know everything's right there to fight the fire but you just can't get to it," said Albany Fire Asst. Chief Josh Pilbin.
"We did get this door open. The only thing we had to fight the fires was fire extinguishers and we used them up," Chief Peters said.
Firefighters from Craftsbury, Irasburg and Orleans rushed over to help knock out the fire that left engine one completely destroyed. "It's a truck we've had since the 70's -- it was ordered brand new," Chief Peters said.
And it's not just the station that has been devastated. Police say it appears the fire was intentionally set.
"It's very upsetting, very upsetting," said Rocky Chaffee, a local resident.
Monica Grondin said she witnessed suspicious behavior from her porch early in the morning. "I look over and I can see somebody in there moving around and then all of a sudden I hear a four wheeler take off with no lights or anything on," she said.
Vermont State Police have begun the search for the suspect who may be responsible for arson. The town has come together to collect a reward for his capture.
This isn't the first fire that the small town of Albany has seen in the past six weeks. The general store, right across the street, caught fire. The fire department put it out, but now they are the ones in need of assistance.
"These guys are going to be up and running in no time, hopefully within the next day or two. We're gonna have a lot of stuff for these guys. They're gonna know that they're protected and we're gonna be here to have their backs," said Newport Center Fire Chief Kurk Flynn.
"We're gonna see what other gear we have. Possibly loan them some gear, or donate some gear to them and we'll see where we go from there," said North Troy Fire Chief David Allen.
"These guys are going to back us up -- our brothering towns. That's why it's called a brotherhood I guess," Chief Peters said.
As surrounding stations pull together -- volunteers plan to have a mutual aid meeting to ask for as much help as possible. "If any department out there has stuff that they aren't using, we probably could make use of it," Chief Peters said.
Peters is not sure of the total damage, but he says the support from the community and other departments will help them pull through.
The department is also planning to stick to their planned Labor Day fundraiser.
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