Green Mountain Racetrack Fire Deemed Suspicious
Authorities are investigating the massive fire that started late Wednesday night at the former Green Mountain Racetrack as suspicious. State police are requesting anyone with information related to the fire or events immediately preceding it to contact authorities.
The fire was reported to 911 shortly before 11:00 PM at the racetrack off US Route 7 in the town of Pownal a short distance from the Massachusetts state line.
First arriving crews noted heavy fire throughout the building that had not been occupied for several years. The fire progression was extensive, and it was decided by the fire chief to only fight the fire from the exterior to prevent injury or possible death by any internal firefighting efforts by fire personnel.
Due to the size of the enclosed race stands and fire progression at the once thriving race track venue the fire chief requested assistance from the several fire departments including: Pownal Valley FD, Bennington FD, Bennington Rural FD, Shaftsbury FD, Arlington FD, Williamstown, MA FD, Hoosick, NY FD, Hoosick Falls, NY FD, North Hoosick Falls, NY FD, Petersburgh, NY FD, Pittstown, NY FD and Raymer Town, NY FD.
Once the fire became under control the Pownal Fire Chief, Keith Coon, requested assistance from the Department of Public Safety Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit to assist in determining origin and cause of the fire.
Members of the investigative team arrived at 09:00 AM on Thursday and met with fire personnel. Based upon the examination of the exterior and noting several areas of collapse in the roof and the damage to heavy support columns to the three-story steel and concrete building it was deemed too dangerous to conduct an internal examination.
Information was obtained that the building was the scene of several other small fires over the summer which had been put out by the fire department as well as numerous events of vandalism and littering throughout the property.
These were deemed to be young adults hanging out in the area and entering the building to vandalize the structure, skateboard and even more recently, ATV riders were noted inside the structure driving around.
There was no power to the structure and there were no reports of any lightening last evening before the fire.
The Vermont Arson Tip Award Program offers an award of up to $5000 for any information that will lead to the arrest of anyone involved in the crime of arson. You may provide this information by calling The Vermont Arson Tip Award Program hotline at 1-800-322-7766, by contacting Det. Sgt. Steven Otis of the Vermont State Police at the Westminster Barracks at 802-722-4600, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone having additional information or having witnessed the events prior to the fire are also encouraged to reach out as well.
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