By: Andy McKeever On: 09:33AM / Monday May 16, 2011
Update: May 17, 2011 at 3:27 p.m.: Police reported Tuesday that Tatro will be charged with operating under the influence of alcohol, his second offense, operating to endanger, marked lanes violation and wanton injury to personal property or to a dwelling house in connection with the crash.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A car crashed into a Route 7 house late Sunday night and triggered a massive fire, leaving two people homeless.
According to Fire Chief Craig Pedercini, police and fire personnel responded to a call of a car crashing into the house at 780 New Ashford Road at about 10 p.m. Sunday night, and immediately found the vehicle on fire with the driver still inside. The driver was removed in the "nick of time" before the blaze spread to the rest of the structure.
"When the first officer arrived on the scene he found the front end of the car on fire with the driver still in the vehicle," Pedercini said early Monday morning. "We almost had an instant fire here."
According to police, Timothy M. Tatro, 29, of Pittsfield was driving the 2002 Dodge Caravan southbound on New Ashford Road when he failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway. He left the east side of the road, traveled approximately 178 feet and struck the residence.
Tatro was taken to Berkshire Medical Center and may have suffered burns on his legs, Pedercini said. There were two people inside the house when the crash occured; they both escaped unharmed. No firefighters were injured while extinguishing the blaze.
"They were up and I believe just watching television," Pedercini said. "There was fuel from the car that accelerated the fire."
Mutual aid from New Ashford, Hancock, Clarksburg and Pownal, Vt. fire departments were called in. The fire was controlled shortly after midnight; firefighters remained on the scene for a few more hours to extinguish smoldering debris.
"Most of us left at about 4 or 5 and we had some people here to keep watch," Pedercini said. "There was a lot of fire."
The house is outside of the fire district and tankers had to shuttle water to the scene. The house is a total loss.
The people inside the 1,500 square-foot home were renters. The property is listed as owned by John and Sharon Fleury.
Police Chief Kyle Johnson said the accident was still under investigation.