An elderly man and his son are dead after an early morning fire in Dummerston.
A single flame continued to burn atop the School House Road structure several hours after the fire was first called in. "You will never get over this. Something like this, it doesn't happen in a small town like Dummerston," said West Dummerston Fire Chief Rick Looman.
The town's roads foreman -- who was out treating the slick pavement Monday morning -- noticed the fire a little before 5 a.m. Multiple departments responded. "It was a fully defensive outside exterior attack. We pulled everybody out of the building because it was too unsafe for our firefighters to go into the building," Chief Looman said.
"No way they could get in. No way they could get in... when I saw it, it was coming through the roof," said Larry Lynch, a neighbor who has lived right up the road all his life.
Lynch knows all of his neighbors well -- including 57-year-old Barry Nutbrown and his 90-year-old dad, Russell. Tragically, the father and son were unable to make it out of the burning home. Lynch and the Russell Nutbrown go back 40-years. "He was a nice guy. He worked at Putney Paper. That's why he moved down here from Canada," Lynch said.
Lynch says the Nutbrown's have other family who still live in the area. He remembers summer gatherings fondly -- listening to Russell play his music. "He was a good fiddler -- oh God yes. I heard him play fiddle a lot of times. I've been out here at parties," he said.
But sadly, that music will no longer be heard here. Something that's hard to come to terms with for friends and those tasked with protecting the public. "This is my first fatality ever as a fire chief. And it is hard to really take, but we do the best we can," Chief Looman said.
State police fire investigators are working to determine cause and origin of the fire. Investigators say at this point it is not considered suspicious.