Thu, Jan 30, 2014 07:28 PM
Photo by Erin Mansfield
The office of Pratico's Landscaping and Fence Company on the
corner of Lincoln Avenue and Route 7 North in Rutland Town, burned
to the ground Wednesday last week. The barn was build in 1885,
making it 128-years-old.
A pile of charred, snow-covered beams is all that remains of
Pratico's Landscaping and Fence Company's primary office on the
corner of Lincoln Avenue and Route 7 North in Rutland Town.
The company's office building was a 128-year-old barn built in 1885
that burned on the evening of Wednesday, Jan. 22.
Rutland Town Fire Chief Frank Cioffi estimated that the fire
started at 5 p.m. Early signs indicate that it was caused by a
malfunctioning space heater at the bottom of the building's
stairwell. The department immediately called in mutual aid from
Pittsford, Proctor, West Rutland, Chittenden, and Rutland City,
while Clarendon covered Rutland Town's station.
"We were maxed out," he said, adding that they spent around
three-and-a-half hours on the scene.
Business owner Miles "Skip" Pratico, a retired 30-year Rutland City
firefighter, was forced to jump from the second floor of the barn
when he saw flames coming up the stairwell.
Cioffi and Rutland Town Fire Department Assistant Chief Nick
Denardo both estimated the drop was at least 10 feet.
"We're counting our blessings that he's alive," said Connie
Cavanaugh, manager of the nursery at Pratico's. "You can always
rebuild a barn, but you can't bring back a person."
"We're very thankful for the huge community response. Everybody's
just been wonderful," Cavanaugh said. "We'll be back up and running
Praticos Landscaping and Fence Co. is a landscaping, fencing, and
commercial nursery business, according to Cavanaugh.
"It hasn't affected the business at all," she said. She clarified
that they do most of their business in the Spring and Summer, and
that they can operate from any building.
"We suspect it was [caused by] space heaters," said Rutland Town
Fire Department Assistant Chief Nick Denardo, adding that the
official cause of the fire has not been determined.
Denardo confirmed that the number of fires happening in the region
is unusual, even accounting for it being heating season.
"We get one structure fire like that every three years. We've had
three since January first," said Denardo. "Every year everybody
should get their heating systems checked, because otherwise this is
what happens," he added.
Frank Cioffi, Rutland Town Fire Department Chief was unable to be
reached for comment.