Fire destroys iconic Vermont dairy farm, community rallies in support of family

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A well-known Vermont family is picking up the pieces after a fire destroyed their iconic dairy farm Sunday in Waterbury.

Rosina Wallace looked on Monday morning as crews tore down what remained of her 19th century farmhouse.

“The farm had been in the family for 152 years, there had been five generations to live in the farmhouse,” said Wallace.

Flames erupted Sunday evening and quickly consumed the farmhouse along with a barn and another home on the property.

Wallace said, “I was down at the neighbor’s having Easter dinner with her family and I could see that the whole barn was engulfed in flames as I walked back.”

Crews were already fighting the massive fire, but it was too late. Inside were 23 dairy cows, all of which died. Family heirlooms and years-worth of memories were also inside.

A small amount of heavily damaged books, pictures and furniture were salvaged. Perhaps the most cherished item, a doll Wallace received in the 70’s shortly before her grandmother’s death.

“She asked me which of the three things that I wanted and I chose to keep the doll… I figured it was gone so when they brought out my cedar chest that was in the parlor with the doll in it, everything in the cedar chest was ok,” recalled Wallace.

Firefighters, family and friends have rallied around the Wallace family. More than $20,000 has already been donated through, an online fundraiser.

“It’s Waterbury and although there have been a lot of changes over the years it’s still a small community and people care… Anybody that grew up here in Waterbury know about this farm and the history of it,” said Gary Dillon, Waterbury Fire Chief.

Wallace said the support has been overwhelming, “I guess that’s what is holding me up at this point because I don’t know what the future is going to be.”

Investigators say the fire originated in the parlor area and appears to be accidental. Windy conditions and the aged structures made fighting the fire difficult.

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