By Tom Gresham
An afternoon fire caused interior damage to a Williston condominium this week, but firefighters kept it from spreading to adjoining units.
No person was injured in the fire, which occurred at 425 Westview Circle. However, a pet cat died of smoke inhalation, despite efforts to revive it with an oxygen mask.
A neighbor spotted smoke coming from a second-floor bedroom window of the condominium on Tuesday. She called 911. Williston and Essex Junction firefighters arrived at the scene at approximately 3:30 p.m. Westview Circle is located close to the boundary between Williston and Essex Junction.
The female occupant of the condo was running errands at the time of the fire. According to municipal records, the condominium is owned by Jeffrey Jimmo, but he rents the unit out.
Firefighters found the fire was burning in the downstairs of the condo and was strongest in the rear of the building, according to Williston Fire Chief Ken Morton. When firefighters arrived, smoke filled the downstairs and was being ventilated up the flight of stairs and out the second-floor window that had been left open.
Firefighters entered the condo and knocked the fire down with water. Windows were also broken open to further ventilate the smoke. An Essex Junction ladder truck was used to access the upstairs windows.
The Westview Circle neighborhood is intimately organized with units laid out close to each other. Several neighbors stood in their front yards and watched the firefighters at work.
Morton said the fire did not “flash over,” meaning flames did not flash over the entire confined area downstairs. Damage to the interior of the condo was significant, but would have been much worse if flash over had occurred. Morton said the fire was controlled relatively quickly.
“It was a free burning fire, but it was pretty cut and dry,” Morton said. “We got in and got after it so it didn’t become a big fire.”
Morton said the fire did not spread to the adjoining units in part because of the strength of the sheet rock walls between them. He said adjoining units did receive some smoke damage.
After controlling the fire, firefighters searched for the pet cat inside. They found it, and Williston rescue workers used an oxygen mask designed for pets. The cat was then rushed to a nearby veterinarian. However, it did not recover.
Morton said the cause of the fire remains under investigation, though he suspects it was electrical in origin.