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Mike Bucossi/Brattleboro Fire Department

The art studio of Jim Giddings on Stark Road was fully engulfed with flames when the first Brattleboro fire crews arrived on Aug. 29.


Fire destroys Brattleboro artist’s studio

Chief: Building a ‘total loss,’ but cause not suspicious

Editor’s note: According to Petria Mitchell, some details from Chief Bucossi were incorrect as originally published in the Aug. 31 issue of  The Commons and posted here. Giddings, we are sad to report, “lost the vast majority of his life’s work in the fire,” she writes. We are working on an update to this story for next week’s paper.

BRATTLEBORO—Fire Chief Michael Bucossi watched as “smoke sifted out of the drawers” of a large metal cabinet containing artwork by local painter Jim Giddings.

The flat file was inside the artist’s studio at 562 Stark Rd. when the 20-by-16-foot building caught fire Monday evening. Multiple fire departments responded at approximately 7 p.m.

According to fellow artist and wife Petria Mitchell, Giddings, a painter since the 1970s, “lost the vast majority of his life’s work in the fire.”

“The building is a total loss,” Bucossi said.

Brattleboro fire investigators have ruled the cause of the fire “undetermined but not suspicious,” Bucossi said. He said he was still reviewing the fire reports, but said there were no injuries.

Buccossi estimated 40 firefighters responded to the scene. Departments from Dummerston, Guilford, Vernon, Putney, and Hinsdale, N.H., responded.

The studio sits outside the municipal hydrant system. Firefighters used six tanker loads — approximately 8,000 gallons of water — to extinguish the fire, according to Bucossi, with crews pumping water into the tankers from a brook at the foot of Stark Road.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #372 (Wednesday, August 31, 2016). This story appeared on page A1.

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