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A home on Middle Road in Clarksburg is on fire Thursday morning.

Clarksburg Home Total Loss After Fire

12:17PM / Thursday, December 02, 2021
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CLARKSBURG,Mass. — A local man lost all his possessions in a devastating fire Thursday that destroyed his home. 
 
The small single-family home at 471 Middle Road was reported on fire at about 11 a.m. Only one person was home at the time and was able to get out if the building safely with two dogs. A cat died in the fire.
 
"By the time we rolled up on the scene, we had fire coming off the rear of the building, fully involved rear of the building," said Fire Chief Carlyle "Chip" Chesbro. "And of course the fire then got into the main part of the building and just got out of control."
 
He said the cause will likely not be known because of the extensive damage to the structure. The homeowner thought it could have been the woodstove.
 
"We had the homeowner come right over as soon as we had an area that he could look at real quick with us," the chief said. "He said he didn't know why it would have started where we thought it started."
 
Firefighters from Adams, Clarksburg, North Adams, and Stamford, Vt., spent three hours bringing the fire under control, finally demolishing the building. Williamstown sent a truck to cover the station.
 
The home's occupant said he was alerted by his elderly dog, who was sniffing around the kitchen. He noticed some slight haze and that the smoke alarm hadn't gone off. He changed the batteries, called someone to check the chimney just in case and went outside to look at it but didn't see anything.
 
"I walked back inside and the whole wall was on fire," he said. "I just grabbed my phone ... I didn't have time to do anything. Not even throw water at it."
 
He fled the house with his two dogs but believed the cat was still inside because it was often upstairs. It's body was found as the building was demolished.
 
The resident, who wished not to be named, was outside watching his house burn when the first-responders arrived. The house was not insured.
 
Smoke from the blaze was so heavy that the house could barely be seen at times. It continued to pour from the building for nearly two hours.
 
Firefighters set up a portable pond to pump water into the house from the nearby Hudson Creek. National Grid was also on scene.
 
By noontime, a small attached garage was completely destroyed and a large pile firewood stacked by a backdoor was smoldering. Firefighters were using several points of entry to try to douse the stubborn blaze.
 
Road foreman Kyle Hurlbut was called in with a backhoe loader to pull away the firewood and garage. Eventually they had him pushing up the metal roof so they could get water under it and, finally, pulling the century-old house down. 
 
Chesbro said the construction of the 1900s-era house posed the most difficulties. There were three layers of roofing that prevented water from getting fire and planking in the frame.
 
"The metal roof was at an issue because of course metal roofs hold in the heat and you can't spray water through them," he said. "And also being post and beam was a real pain because once it gets into the planks, it'll just burn and burn and burn and that's why we ended up tearing it apart like we did to get to the seats."
 
The weather had turned during the afternoon, sending a light freezing rain across the region. Chesbro said the pile was still smoldering and they would keep an eye on it but the rain and snow expected later should help. 
 
Firefighters began cleaning up from the scene about 2:30 p.m. The road was closed at Cross Road and above the hill by the house for several hours.
 
Northern Berkshire EMS set up a tent and Domino's Pizza and Ramunto's provided pizza and some dessert for firefighters. 
 
Chesbro said the homeowner was going to stay with family members. The occupant said he'd lived here about 13 years but his family is mostly in the Holyoke area. 
 

Tags: structure fire,   

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