NEWPORT CENTER – Late Saturday, fire destroyed the home of Charles Roberts, father of 16-year-old Dustin Roberts who passed away in February after a long battle with cancer.
Firefighters were called to Number 12 Road just past 11 p.m. for a fully engulfed structure fire.
“When we got there, the house was fully involved,” said Kurk Flynn, Newport Center Fire Chief. “We called for extensive mutual-aid from North Troy, Jay, Troy, Irasburg and Newport City.”
Firefighters had the blaze under control in about three hours but remained on the scene until 6 a.m.
“It was a very intense fire,” Flynn said.
The exact cause of the blaze is unknown and a fire marshal will be on the scene today, but it doesn’t appear suspicious.
Firefighters were able to save the urn that contained Dustin Roberts’ ashes.
“I am very proud of the firefighters who went in and got the urn,” said Flynn. “That was a heroic thing to do.”
The family’s pets got out of the home. However, the rest of their belongings, including all of Dustin Roberts' trophies he won during tractor pulls at events such as the Orleans County Fairgrounds in Barton, were lost in the blaze.
Firefighters had problems getting water to the scene. Flynn said they drained one of the nearby ponds and had to get water from another source.
The fire hit close to home for area firefighters. Charles Roberts is a former member of the Newport Center Fire Department and his father and brother are still members.
“It affected all of us,” said Flynn.
The Newport Ambulance Service and the American Red Cross were on site. There were no injuries in the blaze.
In all, between 40 and 50 firefighters responded to the scene.
“Everybody did a great job,” said Flynn. “It affected us all, because they are family. It’s a sad, sad, thing.”
Flynn has plans to set up a fund for the Roberts family. Anyone wishing to donate can call Chief Flynn at 323-7590 or Colleen Percy at 334-2890.