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  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    The roof is gone over this part of 80 Maple Street in Wilton Monday, April 30, 2012 after the previous day's fatal fire ripped through the large home.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    The roof is gone over this part of 80 Maple Street in Wilton Monday, April 30, 2012 after the previous day's fatal fire ripped through the large home.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    The roof is gone over this part of 80 Maple Street in Wilton Monday, April 30, 2012 after the previous day's fatal fire ripped through the large home.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    The roof is gone over this part of 80 Maple Street in Wilton Monday, April 30, 2012 after the previous day's fatal fire ripped through the large home.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Fire officials continue to investigate Wilton blaze

WILTON – Fire officials continue to investigate a fire Sunday evening that damaged a house on Maple Street and claimed one life.

As of Monday afternoon, officials had not named the victim or the cause of the fire. Multiple sources, however, confirmed that Arnold Vance, who lived in the large house at 80 Maple St., died in the fire. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday.

Firefighters from at least six towns responded to the blaze that started around 6 p.m., when neighbors reported seeing heavy smoke coming from the barn area. Smoke was visible to drivers along Route 101.

The property is on the north side of Maple Street, about halfway between Russell and Putnam streets, and the large house and barn, recently renovated, date to 1868.

On Sunday evening, crowds gathered to watch firefighting efforts that continued until at least 8 p.m.

One firefighter suffered minor burns to his face and hands, said Wilton Fire Chief Ray Dick.

The barn-like garage and the well were destroyed, he said, and the main structure has heavy smoke and water damage.

“Crews did a good job of stopping the fire from devouring the whole house,” said the chief, who said he did not know the name of the victim or the cause of the fire.

The Wilton Fire Department was assisted by fire departments from Milford, Amherst, Mont Vernon, Lyndeborough, Temple, Brookline and Greenville. The Peterborough department covered the Wilton station.

Dick said he left the area at 3:30 a.m and was back at 7 a.m. to inspect the scene.

Property cards list the property owner as Donna D. Crane, and neighbors report that Crane and Vance lived in the house and are the parents of two young children. A witness said Crane suffered burns on her hands and was taken by ambulance for treatment and neighbors and relatives cared for the children.

The initial call reportedly came in saying that “a person was on fire.”

State fire marshal William Degnan and deputy fire marshal John Raymond did not return phone calls by press time.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 304, or kcleveland@cabinet.com.