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Car Hits Two Houses in Great Barrington
By: Staff Reports On: 02:11AM / Monday May 24, 2010
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One of our readers in Great Barrington reports that a motorist slammed into two houses and trees on East Street on Sunday afternoon.

According to report, the driver, a young woman, lost control of her sport utility vehicle while southbound toward the intersection of Cottage and East streets. She ran into the south side of one house and into the yard, hitting two trees and then into the west side of another house.

Police and fire responded to a call at 3:30 p.m. for a car into a house at 68 East St. On arrival, Great Barrington Fire Chief Harry Jennings reported a SUV had hit two houses and damaged one tree.

No one was reportedly injured and the name of the driver was not immediately released. Police are investigating the accident.



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Lightning Strikes Williamstown Home
By: Tammy Daniels On: 03:41PM / Saturday May 08, 2010
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A single-family residence at 41 John St. was heavily damaged by fire early Saturday morning after a lightning bolt apparently bounced off a nearby pine tree and struck the roof. It was the second time in as many years that the town's suffered a devastating strike.

The renovated attic space of the home, owned by Robert Crosky, was gutted by flames as firefighters battled the blaze for an hour and a half in a downpour before getting it under control.

Chief Craig Pedercini takes pictures of the scene. Right, the tree that was struck is close to the house.

"We made a couple of advances but we were pushed back," said Fire Chief Craig Pedercini early Saturday afternoon, as he stood next a pile of personal items and sopping insulation in the back yard. "We had to take a defensive mode and hit it heavy from the outside."

The difficulty in accessing the third floor was compounded by the home's configuration; lots of hose had to be hauled up stairs and down hallways. On the third try, firefighters were able to get into the area and contain the blaze.

"The guys did a great job — from here, from Pownal, from Clarksburg — as far as I'm concerned," said Pedercini.

The Clarksburg and Pownal, Vt., fire departments were called in for mutual aid, a standard practice for structure fires. The Stamford, Vt., Fire Department covered the Clarksburg station.

The big cracking boom over Williamstown could be heard from Pownal to Clarksburg, waking many from slumber at about 3 a.m.

It woke Pedercini out of a sound sleep. He said all he could think was "I hope that didn't hit anything." But minutes later, the reports came in of a fire at the corner of John and Manning streets, a dense neighborhood. By the time firefighters arrived, flames were coming through the roof.

Crosky was home alone; his wife and two children were out of town. Pedercini said Crosky told him he was wakened by the boom and went into the hallway and saw ceiling plaster on the floor and flames peeking through a hole in the ceiling. He immediately called 911.

Pedercini didn't want to speculate on the cost of the damage, other than to say it would be significant. The third floor's two bedrooms and a bathroom were destroyed, large sections of roof are gone and the downstairs was heavily damaged.

"There was a tremendous amount of water damage and some smoke damage," said Pedercini. "It's going to be a total renovation."

The 80-foot pine outside the front door was scarred by the lightning but didn't appear otherwise damaged, although Pedericini said he's suggested the homeowner have it checked. The family's pet dog and bird also survived the blaze.

Crosky was busy with an insurance adjuster and figuring out what he and his family were going to do next. "I have to find where we're going to live for now."

In August 2008, a bolt of lightning hit the hay barn at Bonnie Lea Farm, burning it to the ground; two horses had been killed lightning there in 2005. A month before that, a strike barely missed a home on Pine Cobble Road, taking out the backyard swing set instead.

"It's devastating. We leave but the homeowner still has to deal with this," said Pedercini. "But you know, the communities ... just come together and offer their assistance."


View Larger Map
At right, the bolt left a large scar nearly three-quarters of the way up the tree.

 



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Richmond Cottage Destroyed by Fire
By: Berkshire News Network On: 12:35PM / Friday April 30, 2010
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RICHMOND, Mass. — With Thursday's high winds, it wasn't a good day to do any outside burning but apparently, one Richmond resident didn't think so — with terrible results.

Police Officer Tom Grizzy said volunteer firefighters from Richmond, Hancock, West Stockbridge and Canaan, N.Y., responded to the 1 p.m. call after sparks from a controlled burn landed on an abandoned cottage on Richmond Shores.

The cottage was totally destroyed by the blaze. After the fire was knocked down, a backhoe was brought in to level the smoldering ruins. Police said action against the neighbor who decided burn yard waste in high winds may be pending.



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Fire Devours Readsboro Home
By: By Tammy Daniels On: 04:54PM / Wednesday December 23, 2009
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A house at 244 Vermont Route 8 was destroyed by an early morning fire. No one was home at the time.

READSBORO, Vt. —  An early morning fire destroyed a unoccupied home along the sparsely settled Route 8 in Heartwellville on Wednesday.

The blaze was called in at 3 a.m. by a motorist who saw flames coming from the single-family home, said Fire Chief Carl Marchegiani. "[The firehouse] is four miles away but we could see the glow in the sky as we came over the flats."

By the time firefighters arrived, the house was fully involved. Whitingham and Stamford fire departments responded to the scene as well and tankers shuttled back and forth from a nearby water source as firefighters battled the blaze in the frigid temperatures.

The two-story home at 244 Vt. Route 8 is owned by Richard A. Larabee, who is currently residing in South Carolina, said Marchegiani. A family member was keeping an eye on the residence.

Smoke was still spilling from the house's smoldering remains early in Wednesday afternoon. Marchegiani said the fire is believed to have started somewhere under the eaves but its cause may never be known because the damage to the structure was so exentensive.

"I can't let anybody in there," he said. "It's too dangerous."

The fire burned so hot it distorted and collapsed the metal roof; ice coated the charred studs and the remains of a spring mattress hung from what was left of a second-floor joist. The stone chimney had buckled in the middle, giving it a curved appearance. Icicles dripped from an elderly Toyota Land Cruiser in the front yard.

Marchegiani said the house would have to be demolished soon. "It's too dangerous to leave it like this."

 



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