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Barn Filled With Antiques Burns In Williamstown

By Andy McKeever

A two-story barn filled with antiques owned by James Montepare was reduced to a pile of debris by fire Saturday.

 

Blustery winds expanded the fire from the barn to the garage, which also stored antiques.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A fire destroyed thousands of dollars worth of antiques Saturday on McLain Court.

A two-story barn, a shed and a garage filled with antiques owned by North Adams Public Schools Superintendent James Montepare burnt to the ground.

For five hours, firefighters from Williamstown and Pownal, Vt. battled gusting winds to snuff out the fully engulfed structure fire. There were no injuries and the cause is still unknown.

"I used these two structures for storage and refurbishing," Montepare, who owns three antique stores, said on Sunday. "I can't say enough about the fire departments and how hard they work."

Montepare said he started a small fire in a woodstove in the barn Saturday morning and shortly after noon he saw smoke billowing out the second story windows.

"I did have a small fire going in the woodstove but I don't know if that was the cause," Montepare said. "I closed [the stove] up and everything seemed to be fine."

The building was already so engulfed that Montepare could not enter the barn but he did remove as much flammable material as he could out of the structures and turned the gas off while firefighters were on their way.

Nobody was in the barn when it ignited; Montepare and his wife, Carole, were inside the house. The blustery winds spread the fire from the barn to the garage and ignited a small brush fire on the hillside behind the buildings.

"It was windy and that was a huge factor," Montepare said. "It started going up the mountain."

Montepare is hoping his homeowner's insurance will cover what he called "a total loss." Montepare did not have an exact dollar amount but said he lost thousands of dollars worth of antiques and tools.

Montepare refurbishes and sells antiques as a hobby and the barn was used for storage and as a workspace. Many of the antiques that were destroyed were expected to stock an expanded Empire Antiques on Main Street. Montepare and Keith Bona, owner of Creations, are planning on expanding the store in the Main Street Stage location to accommodate more of Montepare's merchandise.

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