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Home Destroyed by Blaze; Three Pets Perish in South Royalton Fire

  • Judy Blossom stands in front of her family home with her boyfriend Jerry Swasey in South Royalton, Vt. on April. The house her family had lived in for three generations was destroyed by fire on Tuesday night. On the right is South Royalton Fire Chief Paul Brock. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Judy Blossom stands in front of her family home with her boyfriend Jerry Swasey in South Royalton, Vt. on April. The house her family had lived in for three generations was destroyed by fire on Tuesday night. On the right is South Royalton Fire Chief Paul Brock.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Joe Berad from the Vermont Division of Fire and Safety looks over the contents of a home destroyed by fire in South Royalton, Vt., on April 9, 2014. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Joe Berad from the Vermont Division of Fire and Safety looks over the contents of a home destroyed by fire in South Royalton, Vt., on April 9, 2014.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Judy Blossom stands in front of her family home with her boyfriend Jerry Swasey in South Royalton, Vt. on April. The house her family had lived in for three generations was destroyed by fire on Tuesday night. On the right is South Royalton Fire Chief Paul Brock. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • Joe Berad from the Vermont Division of Fire and Safety looks over the contents of a home destroyed by fire in South Royalton, Vt., on April 9, 2014. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

South Royalton — About 50 firefighters responded to a fast-moving fire that destroyed a South Royalton home Tuesday night, killing three pets.

Nobody was injured in the blaze on Pleasant Street, around the corner from the South Royalton Fire Department.

Fire Chief Paul Brock said the call came in at 9:58 p.m. and responders were on scene within four minutes, but flames had already reached the second story and windows were quickly getting blown out. Flames stretched several stories high, he said.

“She was rolling pretty good when we got there,” Brock said. “At that time we were on the defensive because of the nature of the fire, how fast it was moving.”

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, said Detective Sgt. Maurice Lamothe, with the State Police Fire Investigation Unit, who was investigating the fire Wednesday.

Homeowner Judy Ferris-Blossom said the house was unoccupied when the blaze broke out.

She said her 22-year-old son and his girlfriend had been living there.

Her mother, who now lives in a trailer unit behind the home, moved into the house when she was young, and Ferris-Blossom grew up there.

Ferris-Blossom now lives elsewhere in town with her boyfriend, Jerry Swasey. Her son, Cameron, and his girlfriend have places to stay, she said.

“The hardest thing is just the stuff you can’t replace, all my pictures,” Ferris-Blossom said, as she and Swasey walked around the edges of the home Wednesday morning.

“It’s just material, but ...” she said, her voice trailing off as tears filled her eyes.

Ferris-Blossom said a dog, cat and rabbit could not be rescued and perished in the fire.

She said she learned of the fire from her mother, who called Ferris-Blossom when she saw bright light coming from the house.

“ ‘Something’s not right, Judy’,” Ferris-Blossom recalled her mother saying.

A news release from Vermont State Police Wednesday afternoon said the fire was not considered suspicious and the investigation is ongoing.

According to Royalton assessing records, the building was built in 1902 and most recently assessed at $94,900.

Damages were estimated to be excess of $75,000, according to the release.

Brock said high winds fanned the blaze, and firefighting efforts were hampered by the structure’s metal roof, which contained the heat and flames.

In addition to South Royalton, units from Sharon, Tunbridge and Bethel responded to the fire, which was not considered under control until about 2 a.m., Brock said. Firefighters left the scene around 4 a.m.

State fire inspectors investigated the scene Wednesday. Much of the house’s interior and exterior were blackened, and a charred stairwell inside appeared to lead to nowhere, as a second-story room had fallen in.

Firefighters were able to peel back some of the roof on a section of the house that connected to a barn, where some antiques are stored, Brock said.

Most of the barn and the antiques were the only items salvaged from the flames, which suffered some water damage.

Maggie Cassidy can be reached at mcassidy@vnews.com or 603-727-3220.