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Five Dead in Sheffield Structure Fire

Staff Reports
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Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington at a press conference Wednesday at Sheffield Town Hall with State Police Detective Michelle Mason, left, Sheffield Fire Chief Brent Getchell Sheffield, State Police Det. Edward Culver and Police Chief Eric Munson.

Multiple fire departments responded to the single-family home on Home Road.
SHEFFIELD, Mass. — Authorities are investigating a Wednesday morning structure fire on Home Road that left five people dead. 
 
"This is an extensive operation and investigation with multiple local and state agencies," said Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington at a brief press conference around 2:30 p.m. at Town Hall. "It's going to take us some time before we can get you more information."
 
Harrington said the fire at 1343 Home Road was fully involved when responders arrived on scene and was knocked down at about 9:15 on Wednesday morning and determined extinguished an hour later. 
 
Preliminary search efforts uncovered "the presence of a deceased individual" and further recovery efforts found four more bodies, she said. The state fire marshal and the state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office are working with local officials on the investigation. 
 
Harrington declined to take any questions, asking for patience as the investigation was made and promising to provide information as it became available. 
 
The identities of the deceased have not been released. The property is listed in the Registry of Deeds as being owned by Luke E. Karpinski and Justine Wilbur. 
 
Home Road, a thinly settle country road that parallels Route 7, will be closed near the single-family house through Thursday because of the investigation. The location is roughly at the midpoint of the road within the Sheffield town border. 
 
According to @CTNewsAlert, a breaking news site covering northern Connecticut, mutual aid was called in about 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning, with North Fork, Conn., firefighters being called to the scene. A second alarm and more tankers from Litchfield County were responded minutes later. 
 
Volunteer fire companies from around the region responded to aid the Sheffield Fire Department: Great Barrington, New Marlborough, Richmond, Egremont and Monterey, and Connecticut companies of North Fork and Canaan. 
 
Beth Regulbuto, superintendent of schools for the Southern Berkshire Regional School District, apprised the school community by email on Wednesday night that the crisis team would be meeting on Thursday morning "to discuss the best ways possible to provide support during school tomorrow." She said the district would have more counselors on hand and that faculty and staff would be providing "developmentally appropriate messages."
     

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