Quantcast

Fire-ravaged condos lacked latest safety equipment - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Fire-ravaged condos lacked latest safety equipment

Posted: Updated:
Courtesy: Andy Yager Courtesy: Andy Yager
WARREN, Vt. -

The wreckage of what used to be part of the Mountainside condos smolders more than a day after fire swept through the 36 unit complex.

Neighbors like Ditmar Kopf recall waking up to the shocking scene early Monday.

"The flames were shooting through the top of the building, over the tops of the trees," Kopf said.

The official cause of Monday's blaze is still under investigation, but sources tell WCAX News it was likely a wood burning stove. Kopf, who works as a ski instructor and owns a similar unit next door, says most of his neighbors are aware the buildings are older and don't have today's fire safety features.

"I worry more about the renters that come in occasionally and might not be aware of hazards of the fireplace," Kopf said. "I've heard people go to bed with the fireplace or people trying to use it to heat the apartments and it's not really what they're meant for."

All the units of the complex were occupied when the fire broke out. State officials say even though a manual central alarm system was never pulled, everyone got out safe.

This and many other similar condo units around the state that were built in the 1970s are exempt from today's modern building codes that include one-hour fire walls and sprinkler systems.

"Without the fire separation between the dwelling units and without sprinkler system protection, these fires are very hard to control once they get up into the attic areas," said Michael Derochers of the Vt. Division of Fire Safety.

Mountainside's property manager, Ed Read, says installing a sprinkler system has not been a priority for the condo association.

"Retrofitting a sprinkler system-- it's a big expense and the condominium association every year spends money on different capital projects. This one does not have a sprinkler system," Read said.

Fire officials say the problem is these older vacation condo units are everywhere.

"We have a lot of older stock," Derochers said. "We also have a lot of these condominium-type structures that we haven't inspected, so we try to be proactive getting out and inspecting them. But we have a high demand on our resources now just keeping up with the new construction."

Although Sugarbush Resort does not own the Mountainside condos, it is involved with property management of other units. And officials say visitors should not be concerned about safety.

"Unfortunately, things can happen. They can happen in a new building as well as an old building, as well. We try to make sure that what we represent is certainly safe," said Win Smith of the Sugarbush Resort.

Because you never know who's living in the next unit, fire safety officials say it's good for both residents and visitors to have a plan, something Ditmar Kopf is already on top of.

"We all have our evacuation plans just in case there is a fire," Kopf said.

Initial estimates of the damage were put at $2 million, but officials here say it's likely to run much higher.

Related Stories:

Firefighters keeping a close eye on Sugarbush scene overnight

Fire destroys condos near Sugarbush

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Woman accused in Brookfield hit-and-run

    Woman accused in Brookfield hit-and-run

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 9:39 AM EDT2014-09-02 13:39:53 GMT
    Police say a woman was doing donuts in her soon-to-be-ex-husband's driveway in the moments before she caused a crash.
    Police say a woman was doing donuts in her soon-to-be-ex-husband's driveway in the moments before she caused a crash.
  • Police look for flasher in Lyndonville

    Police look for flasher in Lyndonville

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 9:42 AM EDT2014-09-02 13:42:02 GMT
    Police are warning women in Lyndonville to be alert after a man who still hasn't been caught exposed himself.
    Police are warning women in Lyndonville to be alert after a man who still hasn't been caught exposed himself.
  • 4 hurt in 2-vehicle crash in South Burlington

    4 hurt in 2-vehicle crash in South Burlington

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:08 AM EDT2014-09-02 14:08:30 GMT
    Police are investigating a two-vehicle crash in South Burlington, Vermont, that injured four people.
    Police are investigating a two-vehicle crash in South Burlington, Vermont, that injured four people.
  • Vermont Interstate 91 closed for possible gas leak

    Vermont Interstate 91 closed for possible gas leak

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 9:58 AM EDT2014-09-02 13:58:50 GMT
    Vermont State Police say both lanes of Interstate 91 are closed between Exits 4 and 5 in Putney because of a possible propane leak at an interstate truck weighing station.
    Vermont State Police say both lanes of Interstate 91 are closed between Exits 4 and 5 in Putney because of a possible propane leak at an interstate truck weighing station.
  • Canvassing committee meets Tuesday on election

    Canvassing committee meets Tuesday on election

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:10 AM EDT2014-09-02 14:10:54 GMT
    A canvassing committee is set to gather at the secretary of state's office to make results from this past week's primary elections official.
    A canvassing committee is set to gather at the secretary of state's office to make results from this past week's primary elections official.
  • GMP and NRG to talk energy

    GMP and NRG to talk energy

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:13 AM EDT2014-09-02 14:13:27 GMT
    Officials from Vermont's largest utility and a national renewable energy company are going to announce plans for a project that they say would make the state as a leader in the movement toward cost-effective sustainable energy solutions.
    Officials from Vermont's largest utility and a national renewable energy company are going to announce plans for a project that they say would make the state as a leader in the movement toward cost-effective sustainable energy solutions.
  • NH man killed in Lunenburg crash

    NH man killed in Lunenburg crash

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 9:29 AM EDT2014-09-02 13:29:30 GMT
    One man is dead following a tractor-trailer rollover in Lunenburg.
    One man is dead following a tractor-trailer rollover in Lunenburg.
  • Burlington College president resigns

    Burlington College president resigns

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 9:33 AM EDT2014-09-02 13:33:10 GMT
    The president of Burlington College told student protesters Friday; the school has now confirmed Christine Plunkett is out.
    The president of Burlington College told student protesters Friday; the school has now confirmed Christine Plunkett is out.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.