Brattleboro Fire Department responds to two-alarm at Molly Stark Motel

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BRATTLEBORO — An accidental fire was started at the Molly Stark Motel on Route 9 Thursday.

The fire started after a cat knocked over a candle that fell onto the couch, according to a fire investigation team that determined the fire had been accidental.

The person staffing the office was alerted by the smoke alarm. At least seven different fire departments responded to the second alarm fire.

Brattleboro, Putney, Vernon and Guilford, as well as firefighters from Chesterfield, Hinsdale and Keene, N.H., responded.

The Brattleboro Fire Department got the call around 11:09 a.m. After the first call, multiple 911 calls came in about visible smoke and fire coming from the motel.

A second alarm was called at 11:12 a.m., and by 11:57 a.m. the fire was under control.

"The crews made a great knock down, did primary and secondary searches, and everybody's accounted for. Everybody's safe," Brattleboro Assistant Fire Chief Leonard Howard said. One woman, who had been staying in the motel, was transferred to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital for smoke inhalation. Three cats died.

Terry Bonnette, owner of Leroy Properties, the company that owns the motel, said he was working at his market, Green Mountain Deli, when he saw the fire trucks speed by.

He wasn't initially worried until he got a text about the fire. This isn't Bonnette's first experience with a fire. He owns the building that houses Echo Restaurant & Lounge, which had an oven fire in April.

"As a child, my house burned," he said. "So I remember that."

This, however, is the first fire — or disaster of any sort — he's experienced at the motel. He's owned the motel for a couple of years. He estimated there were between 25 and 28 guests staying at the motel.

He suspects there may be a lot of damage to the front of the building.

"I don't even know exactly what happened, yet," he said.

Bonnette said he wasn't scared about the fire.

"The only thing that would be scary is if I came, and there were flames, and people not accounted for," he said. "As long as everyone's accounted for, you can replace a building and that's all that matters."

Brattleboro Police, Rescue Inc., Brattleboro Department of Public Works, Green Mountain Power, the Vermont Division of Fire Safety and the Red Cross also responded and assisted at the scene.

Newbrook and West Dummerston, as well as Greenfield, Mass., and Hinsdale, N.H., covered the Brattleboro fire stations during the motel fire.

Harmony Birch can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext.153. Or you can follow her @birchharmony.


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