By KAYLEE SULLIVAN
A vacant barn behind the Malletts Bay cemetery was demolished Tuesday afternoon after catching fire.
Juveniles playing inside the structure, across from the Route 127 fishing access, started the fire, Colchester police said Wednesday after completing their preliminary investigation. Vermont State Police fire investigators were also on scene.
The property was owned by Joseph Handy of Colchester.
At 1:54 p.m. Tuesday, the Malletts Bay Fire Department was dispatched after a 911 call reported a brush fire. Officers from the Colchester police department were first to arrive on scene and relayed the update, Malletts Bay Fire Department Chief Steve Bourgeois said.
“At this time, no one is hurt. Colchester Rescue is standing by for our members,” he said Tuesday afternoon, noting the 80-degree weather.
Bourgeois’ crew arrived to find the barn fully engulfed, marking it unsafe for firefighters to search.
Colchester Center, Burlington and Winooski fire departments also helped diminish the blaze. In total, the crew consisted of about 35 firefighters, Bourgeois said.
Around 3 p.m., the fire was knocked out, Bourgeois said, and firefighters were dealing with the leftover overhaul and hotspots. Bourgeois expected to be on scene for another couple hours.
The children’s names were not released, and the investigation of the barn fire is ongoing, Colchester police Lt. Doug Allen said.
Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact the Colchester police department at 802-264-5556 or the arson tip line, 800-32-ARSON.