Fire destroys historic Woodstock building

Published: Jul. 16, 2018 at 8:14 AM EDT
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An early morning fire destroyed a historic Woodstock building and shut down Route 4.

Flames shot through the roof of the Central Street building Monday morning, several hours after the first call was toned out.

"What can you do? Nothing, just hope for the best. But I want to commend the fire department," said Phil Camp, president of the Vermont Standard, the state's oldest weekly newspaper.

And while a journalist never wants to be part of the story, the Standard offices are on the top floor of the burned out structure.

"They brought all of my computers out and a fire safe that had the backups," Camp said.

The building also housed the Pi Brick Oven Trattoria restaurant and two apartments. Everyone was able to get out safely. There is significant smoke water and fire damage throughout the structure.

"Once we realized it gained a strong foothold, especially in the roof section, we pulled crews out for the most part and we have been doing an exterior attack," Woodstock Fire Chief David Green said.

The part of the building that is over 100 years old burned back in the1950s. The current tenants have also been on the wrong end of a natural disaster. In 2011, the Vermont Standard offices were a little further down Route 4 on the banks of the Ottauquechee River. The building was decimated by flooding during Tropical Storm Irene.

"We bounced back in two days, and you know what? We are going to bounce back with this one, too," Camp said.

"I feel for the Standard because they have a really nice facility up there and it's just crazy bad luck that they would have to move and have another catastrophe," said Alita Wilson, one of the dozens of people who gathered to watch firefighters work to control the blaze. "You get used to seeing things every day and when they are not there you miss them."

Wilson says the community will rally around those affected by the fire. As for Camp and his weekly paper, he says they are currently looking for a new place to set up shop.

"I don't know how many pages it will be, but by golly, we are coming out," he said.

The cause of the fire has not been determined. A Vermont State Police investigator has been called in.