Barnet fire claims life of young woman

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BARNET, Vt. (WCAX) A fire in Barnet has claimed the life of a young woman.

Kelsey Locke, 21, of Groveland, Massachusetts, was in Vermont searching for a job. Officials say a friend offered her a place to stay in a barn on his property so she wouldn't have to sleep in her car. Thursday morning, he awoke to find that barn on fire with Locke still inside.

It happened at 371 Whitehill Road in Barnet.

Firefighters arrived at the scene at about 4 a.m. but it was too late to save the life of the Locke.

"When I was coming up the road I could see a ball of flames, so I knew we had a fully involved fire," Barnet Fire Chief Chris Bunnell said.

Bunnell's truck was the second one to show up to the fire. The barn collapsed after he arrived.

Property owner Evan Perkins said Locke was here from Massachusetts hoping to get a job at Burke Mountain. She was a farmhand for Perkins two summers ago when they stuck up a friendship. Perkins wouldn't speak with WCAX News on camera but he shared his story with us off camera and with the police.

"He woke in the morning to the fire. He went outside and tried to make entry into the residence and eventually did make entrance into the barn and saw the victim and pulled her out," Vt. State Police Det. Sgt. Clark Lombardi said.

Officials say Locke was already dead by the time he got her out.

Lombardi couldn't share much more than that. He did say that at this time the fire is not considered suspicious.

Perkins wants the community to know Kelsey Locke was like a child to him and that she was a great person. He said it wasn't his place to share her story. He wants her family to do that.

Police say the building is a heated barn and used to grow microgreens. But fire officials wouldn't say whether that was a contributing factor to the fire.