March 13, 2018 1.a.m.
By Roseann Bergdoll
George Vegas, going through his belongs in the attic at the Readsboro Inn, fell asleep in front of the warm pellet stove. Suddenly awakened, he saw the window to the right of the stove glowing bright yellow and orange. He noticed that the room was filled with smoke. Opening the window, he saw flames coming out of the eves below the roof. Grabbing his jug of water next to him, he threw the water at the flames, but it did little to stop the fire. He tried to call 911, but had no reception on his cell phone.
Running down to the second floor, he banged on each door to warn anyone that might be there. Luckily, he was the only guest that night. He then raced to the apartments next door to find a phone that worked and to warn the tenants.
BJ Gamashe, the resident chef, lives in the middle apartment. He had not been sleeping well and was awake on his balcony. He heard George pounding on the door and quickly took action.
Running to the inn’s kitchen door, he tripped the alarm and dialed 911. He then called the owner Marcia Evans and shouted, “THE INN IS ON FIRE! I’M NOT KIDDING!”
They each grabbed a fire extinguisher, and George returned to the attic, while BJ climbed the ladder outside and sprayed the fire on the roof.
When the fire extinguishers ran out, the men raced downstairs to grab two more from behind the bar. BJ raced through the kitchen, George through the dining room, back up to fight the fire. As George opened the door between the bar and the dining room, he tripped on the step and fell. Quickly getting up, he heard a woman screaming, “GET OUT! GET OUT OF THE BUILDING!” With no time to waste, he ignored her, and raced to the attic.
George and BJ continued to fight the fire until the smoke got so thick that they could no longer see or breathe. Hearing sirens, they went downstairs and out the front door as the firemen raced in.
Hours later, the fire extinguished, George, Marcia, and BJ went over the night’s events.
“I can’t figure out who that woman was that screamed at me to get out,” George said.
BJ perked up, ”I heard her, too!”
“I did not get a good look at her. She was a shadowy figure is saw out of the corner of my eye. All I know is she had long hair,” said George.
No one could figure out who it could have been. The only woman present that night was a tenant who stayed outside with her children the entire time.
BJ went on to tell them about a couple that had once stayed at the inn. They came downstairs, scared because a picture had flown off the wall and hit the woman in the head. BJ went upstairs to investigate. The picture was an old photograph of the inn with a woman dressed in clothing from the late 1800s or early 1900s.
Shortly after that, BJ and a friend were standing in front of the inn, when his friend looked up and asked who the woman looking out the attic window was. The woman strongly resembled the person in the photo that had flown off the wall. BJ stated, “I have no idea. There is no one staying at the inn right now.”
I decided to find out more about the history of the Readsboro Inn. I consulted with Alfred Scaia, President of the Readsboro Historic Society and a lifelong resident of Readsboro. I told him about the ghostly stories and he told me about a fire that took place in 1932.
”The Inn had a restaurant and bar run by owners, Theresa and Gerardo Bolognani. My parents owned the butcher shop next to the Inn, where the bar is now. Attached next door to the right, there was a drug store. Apparently, the owner of the drug store went downstairs to clean out the furnace. Hot ashes sparked a fire which burned the middle of the building and took out the third floor.” Alfred believes if a spirit were going to warn people about a fire, it would be Theresa. She and her husband Gerardo dedicated their lives to making the Inn a successful restaurant and bar.”
Marcia said whoever the mysterious spirit is, she can stick around. “This town is made out of people who help each other. And everyone, no matter which stage of life they are in, is welcome at the Readsboro Inn.”
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