Lanesborough Shed Explodes; Firefighters Prevent Forest Fire
A propane tank exploded inside the shed sparking the fire.
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — A shed behind a Potter Mountain home exploded Friday afternoon and nearly spread to a full-blown brush fire.
According to the homeowner, who wished to remain anonymous, his wife heard a loud bang at about 3 p.m. and moments later flames in the back yard had engulfed the nearby trees. The shed was completely destroyed and fire burned about an acre of land.
"The flames were over the trees," he said.
Upon arriving, firefighters immediately called in tanker trucks from Hancock and Richmond to contain the fire from spreading up the Potter Mountain hillside, according to Fire Chief Charlie Durfee.
The state Department of Conservation and Recreation was called because of the "Class 4" conditions, meaning there is a high-level risk for brush fires.
"We were preventing the fire from spreading to a full-blown brush fire," Durfee said. "It could have taken off and burned 200 acres up the mountain."
Firefighters used about 4,000 gallons of water to put out the flames in about 30 minutes. Employees of nearby Sayers Auto Wrecking helped remove brush near the fire.
"The cause of the explosion is likely from a 1-pound propane cylinder for a grill," Durfee said, explaining that sometimes the propane expands and blows up the cylinder.
Durfee said that type of explosion doesn't happen often but he was "just thankful the propane was out in the shed and not in the garage."
Nobody was injured. The shed housed typical outdoor items like fences and toys. A boat next to the shed was also destroyed.
The homeowner said he does have insurance, which will cover the replacement cost.
"I have to give credit to Lanesborough and Richmond. They did a fabulous job," he said. "They knocked it down really quickly."
Superior Court Briefs: April 29 - May 2
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Monday, April 29.
Justin Gaetani, 29, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on 12 counts of illegal possession of a large capacity feeding device, three counts of improper storage of a large capacity firearm, two counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon, two counts of illegal ownership of a firearm, and single counts of possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number, possession of ammunition without a firearm identification car and improper storage of a firearm.
He was released on personal recognizance. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his home on March 3.
Glenn Robert, 63, of North Adams had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of violation of the notification requirement of a release or threat of release of oil or hazardous waster, illegal disposal of hazardous waste and discharging a pollutant into the waters of the Commonwealth.
He was released on personal recognizance. Robert allegedly spilled approximately 20 gallons of diesel fuel in North Adams on October 15, 2012.
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Thursday, May 2.
Nolan Gamari,20, of Clarksburg pleaded guilty to four counts of rape and abuse of a child, no force, and a single count of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.
He was sentenced to two and a half years at the Berkshire County House of Correction on one count of rape and abuse of a child. He was sentenced to two and a half years at the Berkshire County House of Correction with one of those years to be serve while the remained be suspended with three years of probation. The year served will occur following the first sentences meaning he will serve a total of three and a half years at the Berkshire County House of Correction.
On the last count of rape and abuse he was given three years probation.
Two additional counts of rape and abuse of a child, no force and a single count of enticing a child under the age of 16 were dismissed by the state.
The charges stem from an incident in Clarksburg on February 12, 2012 and involved a girl who is now 14 years old.
Superior Court Briefs: April 23 - April 25
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday, April 23.
Anthony Thompson, 33, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to a single count of participating in betting.
The case was continued without a finding. Thompson admitted to using illegal poker machines in Pittsfield on April 27, 2012.
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Thursday, April 25.
Daniel Lowenstein, 22, of Amherst, had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of distribution of marijuana and single counts of possession of a sawed-off shotgun, illegal possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs.
Lowenstein was released on $5,000 cash or $50,000 surety bail. Lowenstein allegedly sold marijuana to an undercover police officer in Great Barrington on Feb. 23, March 2 and March 9. He was allegedly in possession of marijuana with the intent to sell on March 9. The other charges are also alleged to have occurred in Great Barrington on March 9.
Pittsfield Residence Heavily Damaged by Fire
Firefighters knocked down a blaze at a home on Columbus Avenue.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters responded to a two-alarm fire Tuesday afternoon at 237 Columbus Ave.
The fire in the two-story home was reported at 1:18 p.m. The occupant and two cats and two small dogs escaped the building.
Heavy black smoke was pouring from the upper floors of the home; flames could be seen shooting from back of the building.
"As they pulled out of headquarters, they had a large column of fire and smoke coming right up in front of them," said Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski.
He said the first deputy on the scene requested a second alarm; the 19 firefighters on duty responded and off-duty ones were called in to cover the station.
The building incurred heavy damage and is likely to be condemned. The fire started on the east side and quickly spread into the attic.
"The siding on this building is an old asphalt-shingle siding that we commonly refer to as 'gasoline siding' and it really propogates a fire very quickly," said Czerwinski. "It was that siding that created a lot of fire and a lot of smoke."
The building, which dates to 1850, is a single-family home that at some point had been renovated into three apartments, according to city records, but was restored to a single-family again.
The fire chief recalled there had been some spot fires in the building eight or 10 years ago and it was a vacant single-family at that time. "I didn't realize somebody was in here trying to rehabilitate it," he said.
Czerwinski expected crews to be on the scene the rest of the afternoon as the cause of the blaze is investigated. The American Red Cross also provided one adult who was displaced by the fire with shelter, food, clothing and a comfort kit and provided food and drinks to the first responders. The Red Cross will follow up with the affected individual in the coming days.
"We have crews right now that are working in the attic trying to make sure that's out," he said. "You can see the light smoke, that's probably a deep-seated fire in there it will take a little while to get through there."
The property is owned by Columbus Avenue Realty Trust, according to documents on file with the Middle Berkshire Registrar of Deeds.
Columbus Avenue was closed to traffic between Robbins Avenue and Francis Avenue as firefighters deployed equipment.
Stamford House Fire Extinguished Thursday Morning
Firefighters quickly snuffed a fire reported in a kitchen at Jepson Road on Thursday morning.
STAMFORD, Vt. — A fire at 316 Jepson Road on Thursday morning left a home with extensive heat and smoke damage.
About 20 firefighters responded to the fire, which was reported at 5:57 a.m, and the scene was cleared by 8:30.
"When we first arrived, fire was venting out the kitchen window, and the family was already out of the house," said Fire Chief Paul Ethier. "Our guys did a good job and knocked it down pretty quickly with one hand line and foam."
Ethier said the entire family was out of the house and safe when fire crews first arrived at 6:01 a.m.
"The family was in bed and was alerted to the fire by working smoke detectors," he said.
The cause has yet to be determined, but is not considered suspicious. The home is insured and the American Red Cross was notified of the fire an provided assistance to the family.
Clarksburg Volunteer Fire Company and the North Adams Ambulance Service were also on the scene.
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