Same Building Site of Two Fires in Rutland, Vermont

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) -- A second general alarm fire struck a city apartment house early Thursday, about 24 hours after the first blaze had severely damaged the building and left its five occupants homeless.

The building at the corner of State Street and Cleveland Avenue has three apartments, two of which were occupied. Four tenants inside the building at the time of the fire were able to get out before firefighters arrived. A fifth tenant was not home.

The cause of the fires remained under investigation, but they were not believed to be suspicious, officials said.

According to city records, the three-unit apartment house was built around 1890. It is assessed by the city at $87,738. The building is owned by Michael Bailey of Wallingford.

All the tenants are receiving housing assistance from the local chapter of the American Red Cross and are staying at the Comfort Inn.

The tenants Wednesday said they believed a great deal of their personal belongings had been destroyed in the first fire, but not everything was lost.

John Wright, who shares the second-floor apartment with Newton, said he was not home at the time of the fire. He said he had been in Burlington, watching his son's punk band, Deathpact, perform.

Wright said Wednesday that as he arrived back in Rutland late Tuesday night he was surprised to find firefighters putting out the blaze at his home.

He said he was happy everyone made it out safely.

Wright added that not all of his personal belongings in the second-floor apartment were destroyed. Some clothing, a computer, and a large amplifier survived the blaze, he said.

''I spent a restless night thinking everything I owned had been cindered,'' he said. ''Apparently, that wasn't the case.''

Copyright 2005 Associated Press