"They say that life flashes before your eyes-- it does," Miles "Skip" Pratico said.
Pratico said he feels happy to be alive as he surveyed what's left of his Pratico's Landscaping and Fence business, and passers-by and friends stopped by to see for themselves. He says Wednesday around 5 p.m. fire broke out at the structure on Route 7 and Lincoln Avenue, but right before that, Pratico says it was just a routine day.
"I was working up in the attic putting materials away and getting ready for spring, heard the smoke detector going off and I turned to the stairwell," Pratico said.
Then he saw the smoke and flames, and realized that his beloved business was being destroyed.
"Thirty-five years of work, to get to this point, was going up in flames," he said.
It turns out he spent 30 years as firefighter and he knew he didn't stand a chance against the blaze.
"I was like a man on an island," he said. "I had nothing."
So Pratico made a move to save his life and headed to a second-floor hayloft door that used to sit at the east side of the structure and he estimates to be about 15 feet off the ground.
"I opened the door and jumped out," he said. "My instincts stepped up and you know, I did what I had to do to survive."
As firefighters fought the blaze Wednesday, they said a fire this size would be a total loss.
"It looks like it right now. We are bringing in an excavator to clean up what's left," Rutland Town Assistant Fire Chief Nick Denardo said Wednesday.
Pratico says some items he lost had sentimental value and can never be replaced.
"I lost a lot of great pictures of my grandmother, grandfather that were hand painted. I lost numerous pictures of my father and his mother," he said.
Praticos has operated in Rutland for 35 years and in this location for six. Pratico says he plans to rebuild and be ready in time for spring.
"I'll make it work," he said. "I've got a lot of support from everybody already around Rutland City and Rutland County."
Officials say the fire is not suspicious, and is likely due to a malfunctioning heater. When we stopped by, Pratico was already having meetings with insurance representatives and others regarding rebuilding the structure. He says he can't wait to start building back the business he loves.
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:29 PM EST2014-03-09 02:29:17 GMT
A warning for pet owners in our region. Coyotes are on the prowl. A biologist in New Hampshire says he has received more than 10 calls recently, in the Keene, New Hampshire area, for a deer that was takenMore >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:21 PM EST2014-03-09 02:21:44 GMT
As spring approaches, many Vermont homeowners prepare to work on their houses - so they head to the Burlington Home Show. And many Vermont small business owners - with their products and services on displayMore >>
Many business owners at the Burlington Home Show say the new health care system in Vermont is helpful, but some say it's causing a real headache.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:07 PM EST2014-03-09 01:07:08 GMT
A rally at the State House in Montpelier Saturday. A passionate group of dozens of women, and men, assembled in front of the State House Saturday for the Women's March for Dignity. They were demandingMore >>
Women's March for Dignity say they are demanding lawmakers support paid sick day policies for all workers.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:21 AM EST2014-03-08 15:21:27 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:42 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:05 GMT
Reporter: "What are some of the most common burn injuries that we see with kids coming into the hospital?" Jim Esdon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center: "This time of year, the glass frontedMore >>
We've had another cold week that's left homeowners cranking the heat. But what does that mean for kids' safety?More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:19 AM EST2014-03-08 15:19:21 GMT
Armed with just two L rods, 87-year-old John Wayne Blassingame starts looking for water by asking yes or no questions. "Does it go past 20 feet, does it go past 30 feet, yah," he says. The rods crossingMore >>
A national organization based in Danville says it is providing resources to people in desperate need to find water.More >>