Super Senior: Maurice 'Mo' Sanville

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HARDWICK, Vt. (WCAX) On Monday, all eyes were on 19 Dewey Street in Hardwick as more than 100 years of memories came crashing down. The turn of the century home went up in flames in June, thought to be an electrical fire that started in the attic.

Maurice "Mo" Sanville

Owners Leo and Kathy Renaud were home at the time.

"We grabbed our wallets, our medication, what was on our back and went out the door," Kathy Renaud said.

Insurance adjusters declared the house structurally unsound and said it had to come down.

Maurice "Mo" Sanville is the man who does most of the tear-downs in the area. Mo has been at it for a long time. No need to advertise, people know who to call.

Mo Sanville: This is a piece of cake here.
Reporter Joe Carroll: You got room.
Mo Sanville: All plenty of room... I've taken two boxes out of here and I've hardly made a dent in it.

John Harlamert is Mo's right-hand man. They've worked together for 10 years.

"It's respect," John said. "He's been there and done it."

Mo grew up on a farm in Irasburg where he still lives. Even as a child, Mo liked machinery.

"It's in my blood," he said.

His excavator is vintage but reliable.

"He does everything with it, I mean it's part of him," John said. "I swear he could pluck your wallet out of your back pocket without evening thinking about it."

"Close, close," Mo said. "Just don't leave your wallet exposed."

John, who's 63, says he can't complain about aches and pains when his boss is just a few months shy of 84.

"He's no spring chicken. But we work together," Mo said.

Joe Carroll: So if John's not a spring chicken, what are you? He's 20 years younger.
Mo Sanville: I'm just an older chicken.
Joe Carroll: A fall chicken.

Joe Carroll: Do you ever feel bad to see these old homes go?
Mo Sanville: Not some of them because they need to go.

But for the Renauds, the loss hits home. Kathy says Leo looks stoic but he's hurting. After all, it's been home since the early '70s.

"I think the most important thing you get out of something like this is a lot of things is just material," Kathy said.

The two-day project will fill up to 20 containers of debris.

Joe Carroll: When are you going to give this up?
Mo Sanville: Never... They probably will have to bury me in my excavator. That's the way I want to go.
Joe Carroll: Who's going to dig the hole?
Mo Sanville: I don't know, maybe John.

But from destruction there's rebirth. The Renauds plan to build again.

Joe Carroll: It looks like your truck is here again.
Mo Sanville: That's good.
Joe Carroll: Time to work.
Mo Sanville: Time to work.