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Cause of fatal Brookline fire not yet determined

Daughter dies in blaze; father succumbs to injuries suffered in attempt to save her

BROOKLINE—Vermont State Police continue to investigate the cause of a house fire at 48 Papoose Lane in Brookline on Dec. 17 that claimed two lives.

According to a news release from State Police Detective Sgt. Eric Albright, local fire personnel were summoned to the scene on Dec. 17 at about 2 a.m., and found the house fully engulfed in flames.

Firefighters from NewBrook, Townshend, Putney, Wardsboro, Saxtons River, West Dummerston, East Dover, and Jamaica, and EMS staff from Rescue Inc. all responded to the fire call.

Albright said firefighters learned quickly that a victim still was inside the residence and rescue of that person was impossible. After an autopsy at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Burlington, the victim was identified as Elizabeth A. Cutts, 32.

The two homeowners, Bruce R. Cutts, 70, and Sally A. Cutts, 63, escaped the residence during the fire and Albright said they were both transported by private vehicle to Grace Cottage Hospital in Townshend with significant burns and injuries. Both were soon after transferred by DHART helicopter to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Albright said Bruce Cutts succumbed to his injuries at Massachusetts General Hospital on Dec. 29.

Since it was a fatal fire, Vermont State Police detectives from the Arson Investigation Unit, members of the Vermont Division of Fire Safety, and Vermont State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation detectives all responded to the scene.

During the investigation, Albright said detectives learned the fire is believed to have started sometime after midnight on Dec. 17. According to arson investigators, the cause of the fire is undetermined but not deemed suspicious.

Anyone with any information regarding this fire is asked to contact Albright at 802-722-4600.

Fund established for family expenses

A Cutts Family Fund has been established at People’s United Bank. Checks should be made payable to Cutts Family Fund. Contributions can be dropped off at or be mailed to People’s United Bank, P.O. Box 28, Newfane, VT 05345, or to West River Transportation, P.O. Box 103, Newfane, VT 05345.

A statement from Grace Cottage Hospital appeared on its Facebook page with information about the fundraising effort: “Liz Cutts had worked in the Grace Cottage laundry department for more than ten years, and was a beloved member of our ‘family.’ She will be so greatly missed, and our hearts and thoughts are with Bruce and Sally and the entire Cutts family.”

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Originally published in The Commons issue #440 (Wednesday, January 3, 2018). This story appeared on page A1.

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