Downtown Saint Johnsbury has seen its share of devastating fires over the years

Downtown Saint Johnsbury has seen its share of devastating fires over the years, but one that sparked in a Main Street building early Tuesday was caught quickly enough to avoid significant loss. It was a few minutes before 4:30 a.m. when the fire department was called about a fire in a third-floor apartment at 1204 Main St. Capt. Phil Hawthorne, with firefighters Brenden Greaves and Dennis Morgan, quickly responded to the emergency. Between working to make sure all the tenants were evacuated and stretching hose lines to the third floor, Chief Reed said it was a lot of effort done quickly. “It was just unbelievable how much work they got done in a short period of time,” he said. The building is owned by Bob Jenks. It holds four apartments and two businesses, Jenks’ photo studio and Pica Pica Filipino Cuisine restaurant. The tenant in the apartment where the fire sparked, Elizabeth Papalardo, was not at home when the fire started and had not returned at any point during the day. St. Johnsbury Police, who are investigating the fire, are still trying to speak with her. Jenks said Papalardo is the only person who should be occupying the apartment, but he knows that she has other people staying there. At the time of the fire, Dylan Laramee and Myisha Reid, were there. They reported to police that they were sleeping and that the smoke detectors woke them up, according to police Capt. Jason Gray. Laramee and Reid made it out of the apartment safely, and no injuries were reported.