Three Homeless After Brattleboro, Vermont Fire

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) -- A fire severely damaged a two-family home, leaving three people looking for other housing. No one was hurt.

Firefighters shut off sections of two streets for a little more than four hours Wednesday night to put out the blaze. The fire destroyed the building's roof, attic and an addition attached to the first floor, Assistant Fire Chief Michael Bucossi said.

Detective Sgt. Thomas Williams, an assistant state fire marshall, said Wednesday that the fire was not suspicious in origin, but was caused by a failure of old knob-and-tube electrical wiring. Fire investigators are called in when there is substantial damage.

The bottom floor, where the owner John Carmichael lived with his fiance Lara Schmidt, was heavily damaged, Bucossi said. The top floor, where a tenant lives, was the least damaged.

The tenant reported the fire around 6 p.m., after he heard crackling and saw smoke, Bucossi said.

Carmichael, who has owned the building for about eight years, said he has insurance and the couple had found a place to stay temporarily. He said he didn't know what sparked the fire.

By 8:30 p.m., the fire was under control, according to Bucossi. An hour later, smoke had cleared and heavy damage was visible on the left side and rear of the house, which sits in the residential section of High Street.

Carmichael's dog, Pip, was in the bottom floor during the fire. Firefighters found her hiding under the bed. A cat was missing.