The Vermont State Police disseminate press releases for significant criminal or public safety incidents and arrests, but it is not intended to document every public contact or response to a call-for-service. If you have a question regarding an incident or case, please contact your local state police barracks or the public information officer. Please note press releases are available on this blog for 6 months following their public release. Please contact the public information officer if you need access to one that is older.

Search This Blog

May 23, 2017

Hardwick/Fire Investigation

VSP Press Release-Incident






CASE#: 17A102276

INVESTIGATING TROOPERS: Detective Sergeants Todd Ambroz and Steve Otis, Division of Fire Safety Assistant Fire Marshal Tim Angel                           

STATION: WILLISTON                    

CONTACT#: 802-878-7111

DATE/TIME: May 22, 2017 at approximately 9:45 PM

INCIDENT LOCATION: 71 Wolcott Street, Hardwick, Vermont

INCIDENT:  Fire of a vacant building

OWNER:  Lawrence Hamel                                                           

AGE: 62

CITY, STATE OF RESIDENCE:  Hardwick, Vermont


SUMMARY OF INCIDENT:  On May 22nd, 2017 at approximately 9:45 PM a 911 caller reported a fire at 71 Wolcott Street in Hardwick.  Initial reports, cell phone photos, and witnesses all placed the fire on the second floor of the vacant building.  Upon arrival of the Hardwick Fire Department and surrounding fire departments, the building was fully engulfed in flames on the 2nd and 3rd floors.  Once the fire was contained the Hardwick Fire Chief, Tom Fadden, contacted the Vermont State Police Fire Investigation Unit to request an origin and cause investigation.  On the morning of May 23rd, 2017 Detective Sergeant Todd Ambroz began an examination of the scene.  The building was unsafe, had collapsed inwards, and was smoldering quite heavily.  The Vermont State Police Arson K9 detection team was summoned to the scene along with an excavator.  Once both were on scene the excavator was able to remove the building in layers an allow the accelerant detection K9 and handler, Detective Sergeant Steve Otis, to search the debris for accelerants.  The K9 team located several floor boards which appeared to have the presence of an accelerant.  The floor boards were collected as evidence and will be taken to the Vermont Forensic Laboratory in Waterbury to have further testing done on them.  Nobody was injured in the fire, but the building is considered a complete loss.  The vacant structure did not have any electricity nor was it heated by any gasses or fuels. Anyone having any information regarding this fire is urged to contact the Hardwick Police Department at 802-472-5475, Detective Sergeant Todd Ambroz of the Vermont State Police at 802-878-7111, or by calling 1-800-322-7766 – The Vermont Arson Tip Award Program (VATAP).  Up to $5000 award will be paid for information which helps detect or prevent an arson fire.    

COURT ACTION: Not at this time





MUG SHOT: NA          


Detective Sergeant Todd Ambroz

Vermont State Police, Troop A

Fire Investigation Unit

Williston, VT 05495

Office 802-878-7111

Fax 802-878-2742