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July 16, 2017

Townsend fire

On 16 July 2017 at approximately 0030 hours the Townsend Fire department responded to a report of a large structure fire located at the Fresians of majesty horse farm located on Maggie Ladd Rd in Townsend. Upon arrival the fire department discovered the large barn with attached two unit apartment was fully engulfed in flames. The Townsend fire chief immediately activated the mutual aid system and the fire went to a fifth alarm. The barn was a large open bay barn with two separate apartments located above the barn. While fire suppression was on going it was learned that one individual, an employee had not been accounted for.  The fire chief was able to ascertain from other employees where the subject may have been located in the barn. The entire barn had been consumed by fire and the second floor collapsed down onto the first. The fire department was unable to locate the subject during fire fighting efforts. The Townsend Fire Chief contacted the Department of Public Safety Fire Investigation Unit to conduct an origin and cause investigation and assist with locating the body.


Detectives Sergeants Larry Smith, Mike Lacourse, Todd Ambroz and John MaCallum along with Division of Fire Safety Investigators Paul Cerutti, Chris Boyd and Josh Maxum all responded to the scene. After gathering witness statements the investigators were able to determine the victim may have been in the area of the lab. This was also the location where the fire appeared to have originated. After excavating the area investigators were able to locate the victim. The body was uncovered and the assistant medical examiner was contacted to assist with the removal of the body. The States Attorney was contacted and authorized the removal of the body from the scene. Shea funeral home responded and the body was removed for transport to the office of the chief medical examiner in Burlington where an autopsy will be performed. The name of the victim is not being released pending positive identification of the body by the Chief Medical Examiner and notification of next of kin.


The fire does not appear to be suspicious in nature at this time however the fire is still under investigation by the Department of Public Safety Fire Investigation Unit. Anyone with information concerning this fire are encouraged to contact the Vermont State Police.




Detective Sergeant Larry Smith

Vermont State Police

Fire Investigation Unit

Troop B

Office # 802-748-3111 Ext. 2525

Cell # 802-399-9406