Fire destroys car, damages garage on Lawton Hill Road in Williamsburg

Last modified: Thursday, April 16, 2015

WILLIAMSBURG — A fire Tuesday night destroyed a car and caused an estimated $35,000 in damage to a three-bay garage at 5 Lawton Hill Road. No injuries were reported.

The fire was quickly brought under control after it was reported at 9:20 p.m. It did not spread to the nearby house owned by Jessie Lawton and Jason Camp.

Lawton said that she and her husband had gone to bed at 9 p.m. but were awakened by her son Nicholas Curtin who had “smelled something weird” before he looked out the window and saw his 2005 Crown Victoria fully engulfed in flames in the garage.

Lawton immediately called 911 and Camp, a former Williamsburg firefighter, rushed to the garage to get the two other vehicles out of the building, and then started spraying the flames with a garden hose.

Lawton then telephoned her father, retired Williamsburg Fire Chief Don Lawton, who rushed to the scene from his home about a mile away.

“When I got there the fire had spread from the car to the vinyl siding and was up to the eaves,” Don Lawton said. “The Fire Department got there super quick, only three minutes after I got there.”

“We were the first department to get there and we were able to knock the fire down and get it under control in 15 minutes,” Williamsburg Fire Chief Jason Connell said. “We were able to get water right on it which kept it from spreading to the adjacent building.”

The couple’s home is roughly 20 to 25 feet from the garage.

Connell said that other fire departments that responded to the call were Ashfield, Chesterfield, Goshen, Northampton, Westhampton and Whately.

“Everybody did a fantastic job,” Connell said. “We had four engines and 15 Fire Department members as well as all of the mutual aid, and Highland Ambulance.”

Jessie Lawton estimated damage to the garage at about $35,000, but the structure is still standing and can be salvaged. “The garage we can save, the car is toast,” she said.

Connell said that the fire is still under investigation. While it is clear that the fire started in Curtin’s vehicle, the cause remains unknown.

“The cause of the fire may not be discovered because the car was so badly damaged,” Connell said.

While nobody was injured in the fire, Bentley, the couple’s 130-pound Bernese Mountain Dog, disappeared.

After posting on Facebook that their dog was missing, Jessie Lawton said several people joined her in the woods with flashlights to hunt for Bentley late Tuesday night and into the Wednesday morning. While they did not find him then, Bentley returned home Wednesday.

“He just freaked out, got really scared and ran off,” Jessie Lawton said. “Right now he is fast asleep in the kitchen.”


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