Vermont State Police have identified the two young boys who were killed when a fire destroyed the family’s home in North Hero on Saturday.
The victims were 5-year-old Theodore Maltais and his brother, Nathaniel Maltais, 11 1/2 months. The boys’ parent, Desiree and Mason Maltais, both 30, of North Hero, managed to escape, but were unable to reach their two young sons.
State fire investigators said Monday the fire was an accident that likely began in the home’s laundry room. They say the electric dryer and vent system in the room had been in use an hour prior to the fire.
The home was equipped with smoke detectors, and first responders reported hearing the alarms when they arrived on scene.
Grief counselors met with parents Sunday at North Hero Elementary School to help their families deal with the deaths of two boys.
“We had about 50 folks in our audience for essentially a presentation and workshop about grief and death and how to talk in an age appropriate way to children about those topics,” said Superintendent of the Grand Isle supervisory union Michael Clark.
Clark said counselors and school counselors were also on hand throughout the day Monday. Many in the community say they are there to support each other.
Firefighters arrived shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday to find a house on Bridge Road fully engulfed by flames.
Multiple emergency agencies responded to the fire and its aftermath, including fire departments from Alburgh, Grand Isle, Isle La Motte, North Hero, South Hero and Swanton.
The community has created a Go Fund Me page to help the family