Mar 25, 2023

Small fire at Taco Bell/KFC building quickly contained, appears to be accidental

BENNINGTON — A small fire shut down the Taco Bell/ KFC building at 100 Northside Dr. in Bennington at about 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon.

Traffic was temporarily slowed, but still moving, at the Northside Drive- Benmont Avenue intersection. No injuries were reported.

Bennington Rural Fire Department Chief Ken Goings says he thinks the fire was accidental, possibly caused by a combination of a cigarette and very flammable poplar seeds.

"It might have been a cigarette discharge right there at the doorway," Goings said, pointing to more severe damage at the bottom of a removed exterior panel of the building.

Goings said he observed an abundance of poplar, or cottonwood, seeds gathered where the fire began. The fuzzy, white material of the seeds and hot, dry conditions might have fueled the fire, he said.

The fire damaged a small section of the front of the building, scorching six to seven feet of one of the wooden studs near the entrance, forcing firefighters to tear off the exterior wall and insulation.

Bennington Fire, Rescue and Police Departments all responded to the scene, as well.

Tory Rich can be reached at [email protected]