638 South Main St.

The back side of 638 South Main St., where a fire started late Saturday night. The building, which housed five businesses, was heavily damaged by fire and water and is considered a total loss. 

Two buildings in Stowe were damaged by separate fires late Saturday night. Both fires started on the exterior of the buildings, and the causes are undetermined and remain under investigation.

First, at around 11:15 p.m. on March 30, the fire alarm went off at the Stowe Free Library and Helen Day Art Center at 90 Pond St. The building has been under construction since a sprinkler burst Dec. 10, 2018, flooding down from the attic and causing significant damage.

On Saturday night, the first firefighter responding to the alarm saw “an orange glow and smoke coming from the building,” according to a press release from Vermont State Police Det. Sgt. Todd Ambroz and Assistant State Fire Marshal Chris Boyd. Stowe Fire Capt. Kyle Walker was able to put out the blaze with a fire extinguisher.

As other firefighters responded to the library, another fire was discovered less than a mile away, burning at the back of the red building at 638 South Main St. Stowe firefighters and other area fire departments responded, and the Vermont Department of Public Safety Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit was contacted to investigate both fires.

Det. Sgt. Ambroz arrived at the library 2 a.m. Sunday as firefighters battled the blaze on South Main Street. The library fire was found to have started near a windowsill on the outside of the building, and the damage is considered minimal at around $10,000.

Five hours later, Ambroz, Boyd and Stowe Police Det. Sgt. Fred Whitcomb began investigating the origin and cause of the South Main Street fire. It was found to have started at the back of the building, opposite the side facing the street, burning upwards from the basement level and spreading to the roof and interior.

The fire and water damages to the building are significant, and the building is considered a total loss. Five businesses had operated out of 638 South Main, known as Stoware Common — Ross Environmental, Uncle George’s Flowers, LeBeau Kitchens & Baths, Lush Salon and Boutique, and De Noia’s Dry Cleaners.

Anyone with information about either of the fires is asked to contact Det. Sgt. Fred Whitcomb of the Stowe Police Department at 802-253-7126; Det. Sgt. Todd Ambroz at 802-878-7111 or todd.ambroz@vermont.gov; or the Vermont Arson Tip Award Program hotline at 1-800-32-ARSON (1-800-322-7766).

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