No One Injured in Williamstown Barn Fire
The Williamstown Fire Department received a call from the residents of the home at 9:34 a.m. and had the blaze under control with the assistance of neighboring fire companies by 10:30, Assistant Chief Robert Briggs said.
"All the animals were out," Briggs said as work continued to extinguish hot spots in the smoldering remains of the structure. "The horses were out. The dog got out. The homeowner was in the barn when it happened.
"It was an accidental fire, so we're good with how it started and all that. We're just trying to clean it up."
The biggest issue in late morning was two 100-gallon propane tanks that were stored in the barn.
"What happens with a propane tank, when it's exposed to extreme heat is the vapor inside of it expands," Briggs said. "There are safety release valves built into propane tanks that will let the vapor go at a controlled rate compared to an explosion. An explosion, we'd have a big problem with a lot of propane at the same time."
Briggs said the propane company that services the tanks was en route to help firefighters safely remove them from the site. In the meantime, the firefighters continued to hose down the tanks to keep them cool.
After arriving on the second truck at the scene, Briggs said he was less than 1,000 feet from the blaze setting up a water draw from a nearby brook when the venting from the propane tanks began.
"That happened, and I knew what it was right away because I've heard it at other fires," he said.
The home's proximity to Hemlock Brook was a blessing.
"We're fortunate in that we were less than 1,000 feet from a really good water source that we trained on," Briggs said. "We had water on this fire as quick as we got here, and we had continuous water.
"When the fire is 90 percent involved when you get here, there's no stopping it. There's no turning it around. You just make sure that people got out safely and none of our people get hurt. We're doing a very good job with Northern Berkshire EMS here of rehab, making sure our people don't overdo it."
Fire companies from New Ashford, Lanesborough, Hancock, Clarksburg and Pownal, Vt., responded to the blaze.
"We really appreciate the support from our neighboring communities," Briggs said. "Every community sent good crews. We're happy for that. And that's what we have to do now because we're all so short-handed.