Fire strikes Bennington College

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BENNINGTON — A fire that significantly damaged the administration building of Bennington College was contained as of 2:45 p.m., a college official said.

The fire broke out shortly before 1 p.m., according to Natalie Redmond of the college's Communications Office. She said all of the occupants were safely out of the building with five minutes. There were no injuries among the staff, students or faculty, she said.

One firefighter was injured when he was pulling a hose off a truck, according to Joe Hayes, chief of the Bennington Rural Fire Department. He said the firefighter, whose name was not available, was taken to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center for treatment. The extent of his injuries was not known, Hayes said.

Firefighters from at least six communities responded to the fire.

Hayes said it is not known how the fire started.

The administration building, a horseshoe-shaped, two-story, wood-frame structure located in the center of campus, is known as the Barn. The fire appeared to be concentrated in the east wing of the building.

Firefighters were pouring water through an upper window from a ladder truck, as clouds of gray smoke enveloped the surrounding area.

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Firefighters from Bennington, North Bennington, Shaftsbury, Arlington, Pownal and Hoosick Falls, New York, were on the scene.

The response by firefighters "was really quick," Redmond said.

"The volunteer community fire departments, they do good work."

Redmond said there was painting being done at the building at the time of the fire, but no construction work.

Some pieces of artwork were being salvaged from the building yesterday.

One student, who was working in the Building and Grounds offices down the hill, reported seeing flames. "The fire was just flooding out (of the windows)," said Five Grant, a second-term freshman.

This story will be updated.


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