“Neighbors were all evacuated during the firefighting effort.”
In the meantime, Burke was taken by ambulance to CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh, where he was treated and then transferred to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington with first- and second-degree burns to half of his body. He was listed in critical condition Thursday.
CITY CREWS CITED
Vassar and Tucker, whose uniforms were burned as they tried to put out the fire on Burke, were taken to CVPH for evaluation, then released.
All four officers returned to work Wednesday night, Racicot said.
“Certainly, the department is very proud of them,” the chief said. “There is no doubt that, right then and there, they saved this guy’s life.”
Racicot also said city firefighters did a good job in a challenging situation.
“In a case like this, where there is the presence of some kind of accelerant, that steps it up a notch, as far as the intensity of a fire,” he said. “We are very fortunate that they were able to protect the adjacent residents.”
Technicians were at the mobile home on Thursday doing crime-scene forensics.
“It is being investigated as an arson,” Racicot said.
“It is tough,” he said of Burke’s mental state. “He admitted trying to kill himself. He obviously had some legal problems.”
Email Lois Clermont: firstname.lastname@example.org