Arson fire destroys house

A New Years Eve fire destroyed a two-story property in Fair Haven located at 14 Cottage St. at approximately 3:15 a.m. Firefighters from Fair Haven, West Haven, Castleton, Poultney, Benson, and Whitehall (N.Y.) responded by 3:30 a.m., but the fire had spread throughout the home. Fortunately there were no injuries, and the fire had been controlled within 45 minutes; it did not spread to surrounding homes. At approximately 6:20 a.m. the Fair Haven Fire Department requested the Vermont Sate Police and the Vermont Division of Fire Safety to assist in an origin and cause investigation. The investigation conducted concluded an intentional malicious act of setting fire to the residence resulting in a final judgement of arson. There are leads, but no arrests have been made yet. This Cottage Street location had been previously involved with other suspect issues related to drugs. Locals confirmed that a big drug bust occurred about two weeks ago when the police raided the house following an overdose of a woman resident, who had been treated and released. Following the overdose, the police received the necessary warrant to search the home and seized multiple items used in the manufacture and use of crack cocaine. The police had informed owner Peter Altrui that his rental property had become a big drug house. Altrui had been in the process of evicting the woman because of his prior visits and observations of the tragic shambles of his rental property. Despite Altruis loss, his umbrella policy will afford him the ability to rebuild the property in the spring. Anyone with further information is asked to call Vermont State Police at 802-773-9101, Fair Haven Police at 265-4531, or the Arson Tip Hotline at 1-800-32-ARSON.

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