A furnace problem caused a fire and explosion that demolished a garage shop with a second-floor apartment in Moretown.
The fire was reported Saturday, Dec. 21, at 4:50 p.m. at 5659 Moretown Mountain Road. The property is owned by Calvin and Nancy Blodgett of Moretown; Archer Greenhalgh of Moretown was a tenant there.
Authorites said Calvin Blodgett spotted fire coming from the rear of the garage, called the fire department, then went to investigate. He found flames coming from the furnace room area of the garage.
When firefighters arrived, the flames were well on their way to destroying the garage, the apartment, and three cars stored inside the garage.
The fire department was able to contain the fire to the garage.
The state fire and explosion investigation unit was called in to investigate the fire, and found that it started in the furnace room. The investigators found evidence that the oil-fired furnace heat exchanger had failed, allowing the fire from the oil burner to burn through the back of the furnace and light the back wall on fire.
The fire has been listed as accidental.
The apartment was vacant when the fire broke out, and there were no injuries.
Investigators issued this reminder: It is important that all heating appliance be installed, cleaned and maintained by a heating technician who is trained and certified in the type of appliance being installed or serviced.
The Division of Fire Safety recommends that all heating appliance be cleaned, serviced and inspected annually.