by Meghan Wayland
NEWPORT CENTER — Just before midnight Friday, the Newport Center Fire Department responded to a report of a structure fire at a building on 156 Niles Road in Newport Center. Upon arrival, firefighters encountered a “fully involved” fire in a two-story building owned by Anthony and Sheila Baraw of Troy, according to a press release issued by Vermont’s Department of Public Safety Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit. The building was a single-family home with an attached garage and, according to the press release, it had been unoccupied for several years.
The release also says that, although there were no official tenants, the building’s owners reported one or more people entered the property on numerous occasions.
Newport Center Fire Chief Kurk Flynn reached out to state fire investigators for assistance in determining the origin and cause of Friday’s fire. Detective Sergeant Michael LaCourse from the Vermont State Police and Assistant State Fire Marshal Tim Angell from the Division of Fire Safety arrived at the scene Monday. The state investigators consider the cause of the fire “suspicious,” according to their report.
There was no power to the building at the time of the fire and there were no reported injuries.
The fire remains under investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Sergeant LaCourse at the Derby Barracks at 334-8881 or the Vermont Arson Tip Award Program (VATAP) hotline at (800) 32-ARSON (1-800-322-7766). VATAP will pay up to a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.