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Commercial building in Rutland destroyed in blaze - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Commercial building in Rutland destroyed in blaze

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RUTLAND, Vt. -

A malfunctioning heater may behind a blaze in Rutland town Tuesday.

The Rutland town fire department spent New Year's Eve doing what they do best. Along with the Rutland City and Pittsford fire departments, they were fighting a blazing structure fire on Woodstock Ave., near Ross Street in Rutland.

"It's been pretty difficult to extinguish; it took most of the roof off," said Chief Joe Denardo, of the Rutland Town Fire Department.

Officials believe the fire at the commercial building, which houses businesses including a Floormaster and Safelite, started as a result of a malfunctioning gas heater. The fire started around 4 p.m. and crews continued to battle the blaze hours later. Officials say that is due to the way the fire spread across the roof.

"The roof is doing what it's supposed to do, it's shutting out water, and we've been unable to get water in horizontally, we've only been able to get water in vertically," said Denardo.

Fire officials say there was one employee of Safelite in the building at the time the fire started, who alerted them to the fire. They say no one was injured. Onlookers stopped to take it all in.

"Flames were shooting quite a ways out of the building, 20, 30 feet in the air, and a lot of smoke," Dave Swahn said.

The department says the response required multiple crews, not just due to the size of the blaze, but because the cold weather requires firefighters to take more frequent breaks to thaw out before going back in to continue to extinguish the fire.

Fire officials say the building is a complete loss.

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