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Cheshire Fire Blamed on Heating System; Structure a Total Loss

By Jack Guerino
iBerkshires Staff
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The building burned to the ground. 
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The fire that destroyed a local business is believed to have started in an attached garage.
Fire Chief Thomas Francesconi said the blaze that razed the former Kubota dealership last week likely started from the heating system. 
"The Mass State Fire Marshal's office did investigate the scene the following day. The cause of the fire is officially listed as undetermined, however, both myself and the investigating marshal believe the fire started with the heating system in the garage area," Francesconi said. "This was the area of origin for the fire."
The fire burned the building to the ground the night of Jan 4 during a blizzard that blew through the county with extremely cold temperatures and forceful winds. The property had been purchased some months before by J. Richardson Contracting. One of the company's vans was parked in the garage.
The Fire Department received the call a little before 7:30 p.m. but because of the snowy condition of the sparsely traveled road the first arriving engine went off the road and the second engine lost all electric once arriving on scene and could not flow water.
Francesconi said the structure is a total loss.
"The fire already had a very firm hold on the building prior to the fire being observed then called in," he said. "Due to the weather and the remoteness of the location, the area is not heavily traveled so the fire had an opportunity to build and progress at a very high rate."
Even getting water to the site was a challenge and five tanker trucks were shuttling water from Hoosac Valley High School. This trip took at least 20 minutes.
Mutual aid was needed from surrounding communities.  Adams sent an engine while the Adams Forest Wardens, Savoy and Lanesborough departments sent tankers. Dalton Fire Department also responded.
The Cheshire Highway Department was able to return the engine that went off road to the road.
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