A resident of a mobile home on Coolidge Highway in Guilford, Vt. awoke to the smell of smoke around 3 a.m. Monday morning August 16, 2004. Investigating the cause of the odor, she discovered a smoke condition on an enclosed porch attached to the home, prompting her to evacuate.
Firefighters from the Guilford Fire Department responded, finding heavy fire coming from the front of the house upon arrival. Attack lines were set up to cool two large residential propane tanks that were being threatened by the fire. Shortly after arrival the relief valve of one tank released with a loud whoosh, sending flames as high as forty feet in the air and further igniting the structure.
A second-alarm was struck by Guilford Fire Chief Dan Stoughton, this and additional requests for tankers, brought mutual aid to the scene from nearby Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire departments, as well as an ambulance from Rescue Inc.
Firefighters were able to control the fire surrounding the tanks and shut off the control valves that fed lines to the house.
The fire quickly melted the home's exposed metal skin and further extended into the interior, doing considerable damage to the structure and its contents. Radiant heat from the fire also damaged the side of a nearby camper.
Friends, family and neighbors stood by the owners as they watched the fire, giving support and offering shelter. The American Red Cross responded and provided canteen service to firefighters and assistance to the family.
The fire was brought under control in approximately 75 minutes, however extensive mop up and long large diameter hose lays kept firefighters working into the morning. Firefighters from eight departments responded to the blaze, including Guilford, Brattleboro, Putney, and Vernon, Vermont departments, Bernardston and Leyden, from Massachusetts, as well as West Chesterfield and Hinsdale from New Hampshire.
No injuries were reported to occupants or firefighters. The blaze is currently under investigation.