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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Fire Destroys Garage, Claims Dog

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Monday, April 17, 2006

All that remains after an April 17 morning fire at 782 West Cross Road destroyed a wooden garage and claimed the life of a mastiff dog.View Slide Show
Clarksburg - A dog lost its' life and a garage burned to the ground during an April 17 late morning blaze that sent firefighters from two volunteer fire companies to the home of Leon and Barbara Rouse at 782 West Cross Road.

The property was formerly a well-known fruit and vegetable venue owned by the Beebe family.

Town firefighters and firefighters with the Stamford, Vt. fire department were called to the property at 11:28 a.m., and found the garage fully involved in flames.

Firefighters said that rolling clouds of thick black smoke were visible from numerous locations in town and other witnesses reported that an acrid stench caused by the smoke was detected from distances as far as portions of Franklin, Eagle, and Houghton streets in North Adams.

Firefighters worked quickly to extinguish the blaze, which spread from the garage to a rear corner of the house. Firefighters were able to keep the flames from devouring the home, but the garage and its' contents, including a 2003 Ford F150 pick-up truck and a small garden-style tractor, were destroyed as the fire leveled the structure.


Thick smoke rose even after firefighters beat down the flames.
The truck's tires were almost completely burned away , and the burning rubber contributed to the thick smoke and the unpleasant odor, firefighters said.

A caged female mastiff dog that was in the garage when the fire broke out was killed during the blaze.

The Rouse family owns two other mastiffs that were not injured during the fire.

Speaking from the fire scene, town Fire Chief Carlyle "Chip" Chesbro Jr. said that a fire cause had not been detected but added that the fire was not believed to be of suspicious origin.

"We may never know what caused it," Chesbro said.

Preliminary damage estimates, including the loss of the truck, the garage, the tractor, a scorched corner of the home and smoke damage to the home's interior are at over $40,000. Flames were extinguished within about 15 minutes and firefighters were at the scene until after 1 p.m..

After firefighters doused the flames, a Class A fire-retardant foam was used to smother the scorched, smoking, hot materials that remained. Town firefighter Keith Bush explained that the foam was used as prevention tool to keep flames from re-igniting.

The property is directly across the town elementary school and public library. School was not in session because of an April recess.

West Cross Road was closed to traffic for about two hours from the intersection of Middle Road and West Cross Road and the junction of North Houghton and North Eagle streets and West Road.

Clarksburg Volunteer Fire Department Chief Carlyle "Chip" Chesbro Jr.


Members of the North Adams Ambulance Service were at the scene.

Chesbro reported that there were no injuries during the blaze.

"That's what's important," he said. "We all come to a fire and we all go home."

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.
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