News from Our Neighbors

Fire destroys Charlotte snowplows

Franz Roos/Unsplash photo

By Chea Waters Evans, The Charlotte Bridge

A fire at Lewis Excavating’s garage on Church Hill Road has leveled a building and destroyed most of the business’s vehicles and equipment. Jr. Lewis, the owner of Lewis Excavating, is the town of Charlotte’s road commissioner and uses his own trucks and plows to maintain the town roads. In an interview on Wednesday night, as the fire still burned, Selectboard Chair Jim Faulkner told The Charlotte Bridge, “We’ve got a real challenge on our hands for sure right now.”

Lewis and his son Tyler, who works with him, were both safe and unharmed; the building, however, and the decades worth of trucks and equipment and tools inside it, are a loss. As of 9 p.m. on Wednesday, the fire was raging and fire and rescue departments from Charlotte, Shelburne, Hinesburg, Vergennes, and the Vermont National Guard were on hand to help. 

Faulkner said there was one truck that wasn’t destroyed in the fire, but all four of the plow trucks–which are used as snow plows on town roads–were destroyed, as well as a tractor, a bulldozer, a front end loader, and generations’ worth of tools and equipment are a total loss. Faulkner said he heard that because there were propane and diesel tanks in the garage, the fire quickly reached a devastating level.

Lewis has been annually elected as road commissioner for more than twenty years. He contracts his equipment and time out to the town. Plans have recently been discussed at public meetings to eventually build a town garage and purchase trucks and equipment for Charlotte. Faulkner said that initially, the plan was to build one in five to eight years, but that after tonight those plans will be “put on fast forward…now it has to happen.”

In the meantime, Faulkner said the temporary emergency plan will be to “reach out to other town garages in our area and see if they have extra trucks.” 

No one was injured in the blaze and it didn’t spread to nearby properties. The cause of the fire is unknown at press time.

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