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Chief: Woodstock Fire Suspicious

  • Jeremiah Dube, of van de Ven Construction, carries a section of fence past the burned remains of Pi Brick Oven Trattoria in Woodstock, Vt., Tuesday, July 17, 2018, the day after it was destroyed by fire. Vermont State Police investigators have deemed the fire to be suspicious. Dube and his co-workers fenceed off the building and new locks were installed in the adjoining stone structure that houses offices for the Vermont Standard and the Collective - The Art of Craft gallery. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • The day after fire destroyed an adjoining building, the electricity was out at the gallery Collective - The Art of Craft. Having only sustained minor smoke damage, Manager Kathy Myers, left, and Treasurer Lynn Adams, right, came to the store to ship purchases that were delayed due to the fire and prepare the space for smoke damage remediation. They plan to re-open on Saturday, providing electricity has been restored to the building. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Kathy Myers, manager of Collective - The Art of Craft, moves merchandise at the gallery so smoke remediation workers can wipe down the walls following a fire that, a day earlier, destroyed the adjoining Pi Brick Oven Trattoria in Woodstock, Vt., Tuesday, July 17, 2018. Myers said that no work by the 13-member craft cooperative was damaged and she thanked firefighters for helping retrieve items that were the most susceptible to smoke damage on Monday. July 16, the day of the fire, was the 12th anniversary of the gallery's opening. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Woodstock — A fire that gutted part of a Central Street building early Monday morning is being investigated as suspicious, Woodstock Fire Chief David Green said.

“The state police did an investigation in the restaurant and they have determined that (the fire) was suspicious in origin,” Green said in an interview on Tuesday. He did not elaborate on what evidence led investigators to their conclusion.

Firefighters spent much of Monday battling the blaze, which began around 3:30 a.m. at 47-55 Central St., which was separated by a firewall into an old, wooden structure and an adjoining stone one.

The wooden portion was deemed a total loss, and tenants likely won’t be allowed back in until next week, Green said. The fire destroyed Pi Brick Oven Trattoria, the restaurant on the first floor, as well as offices of the Vermont Standard weekly newspaper and an apartment that housed two people and their pets.

No one was injured in the blaze, officials said.

Messages left for Pi owner Sarah Callander were not returned on Tuesday.

Workers on Tuesday morning fenced off the remains of the wooden building, and installed new locks on the adjoining stone building that houses the production area for the Standard and Collective — The Art of Craft gallery.

At the same time, employees of the art gallery worked in the dark to ship purchases that were delayed during the blaze, and prepare for smoke remediation. The gallery, which plans to re-open on Saturday, sustained minor smoke damage and lost electricity during Monday’s fire.

The Collective was closed for almost two months during recent construction work to replace the bridge on Central Street, which also is Route 4, that runs over Kedron Brook. Several downtown business said the construction negatively affected their sales.

State investigators at the scene on Monday said they believed the fire began on the building’s first floor, in the restaurant’s office space. Members of the Vermont State Police and state Fire Investigation Unit collected several samples of debris from the building to be tested for accelerants, or substances that can be used to speed up a fire.

A police K-9 also was brought to the scene on Monday to detect accelerants, and alerted its handler to multiple piles of debris.

Vermont State Police Detective Sgt. Thomas Williams said on Tuesday that no new information is available on the fire.

A sign was posted outside of the building offering up to a $6,000 reward for information on the fire. People with relevant information are asked to call 1-800-32-ARSON.

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.

Correction

Kathy Myers is the manager of Collective — The Art of Craft. An earlier photo caption gave an incorrect last name.