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Southern Vermont residents sound the alarm after string of fires

Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 4:58 PM EDT
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PUTNEY, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont state police are investigating a series of recent fires in Southern Vermont.

Two took place in Putney, one in East Dummerston and three in Marlboro. Investigators are working to determine whether the fires are connected. However, one thing is already certain: The string of events has community members on edge.

“I feel that the village of Putney is on a tipping point,” Elizabeth Warner said.

Warner has lived in Putney for more than two decades. She stopped by Rod’s Gas Station on Main Street Monday as crews worked to dismantle the charred business.

Last month, police say someone intentionally set the building ablaze.

A couple of miles down the road, an abandoned trailer, boat and car were also burned out.

“I’m devastated by the state of this community and the fact that we have been suffering for so many crimes including the arsons,” Warner said.

Putney is not the only Windham County community suffering. In Marlboro, a defunct motel, vacant building and a vacation cabin all caught fire within a two-week span.

Sunny Tappan called in the fire at the cabin, which is located near her home.

“There was huge flames just roaring out of it,” Tappan said.

She is aware of all the recent fires and is adjusting travel plans because of the blazes.

“We are not going anywhere for Thanksgiving,” she said. “We are staying right here because we don’t want to leave the house.”

The business in Putney is already gone, leaving a hole in the community.

“If you needed to pay something off the next week, they would do that,” Warner said. “Take a quick look at your car if you needed to get on the road to take a road trip to pick up your kid.”

Anyone with information about the fires is asked to call the state police or Vermont’s arson tipline. A $5,000 reward is also being offered for any information that leads to an arrest.

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