Highgate barn fire under investigation, damage exceeds $200,000

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HIGHGATE — A significant fire broke out at a barn on Vermont Route 78 early on April 2, resulting in damages exceeding $200,000.

The fire, reported at approximately 3:59 a.m., prompted a quick response from the Highgate Fire Department, with mutual aid from Franklin and Swanton departments.

Firefighters encountered heavy smoke and flames emanating from the east side of the barn, which rapidly spread to its main section.

Assistant Fire Chief Ralph Comiskey, overseeing the response, sought the Department of Public Safety Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit’s help in determining the fire’s origin and cause.

The unit commenced their investigation on the same day, focusing on the barn’s east side where the fire was believed to have started. However, the cause and classification of the fire remain under investigation.

The Highgate and Franklin Fire Departments, along with Doug Rollo Excavating, provided assistance during the firefighting, investigation, and site safety operations.

Fortunately, there were no injuries reported in connection with the fire, its suppression, or the subsequent investigation.

The barn, owned by 35-year-old Luke Rainville of Highgate, was not used for livestock and was completely destroyed along with its contents.

The loss is estimated to be more than $200,000.

Authorities urge anyone with information about the fire or who was near the area in the early hours of April 2 to contact the State Police at 802-524-5993.

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