Owner of Worcester business hopes to rebuild after fire

Published: Jan. 22, 2023 at 7:05 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 22, 2023 at 8:41 PM EST
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WORCESTER, Vt. (WCAX) - A home-based business in Worcester was destroyed by fire Saturday.

“I’ve dealt with a fire before. I’ve seen other fires. I’ve helped people who’ve had fires. So, I knew immediately,” said Peter Comart, describing his first reaction to the fire that destroyed his home-based Garden Mats business over the weekend.

Comart was working in his shop when he says the blaze started. He says he believes his mat-making machine was what sparked it. “I went to pick up my truck and when I came back, I was gone for about ten minutes. I have a machine that manufactures garden mats. That machine was running, and something must have been defective,” said Comart.

The building was up in flames in a matter of minutes. Worcester Fire chief Will Sutton says six other departments came out to help to put out the blaze. He says the fire started in the front of the building and made its way through the entire structure up to the second floor and that his crew had to pull water from the river in front of Comart’s house.

“Outside of the village, we don’t have hydrant systems. So, we have to get water sources from everything. So fortunately, there’s a brook behind you that we were able to put a portable pump in there. So, we were able to maintain putting water on the propane tanks to try to keep them from exploding,” said Sutton.

Sutton says it took crews about six hours to put out the flames and that he’s glad Comart’s house was not affected by the fire. “I feel bad for Peter. He lost his business. He’s a good guy. He’s a great resident in town. We just wish we could have done more for him,” he said.

This isn’t the first time Comart has had to deal with a fire. When he and his wife got married over 20 years ago, a fire destroyed his home, forcing him to rebuild.

Comart makes the mats to keep weeds out of people’s gardens. He says he has over 10,000 customers nationally. He says he will do what he did last time -- remain hopeful and rebuild again. “It is strange how things happen sometimes. This will work out like everything else has in life, Just going to take a little more work,” Comart said.

He said he hopes to be back in business by 2024.