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Firefighters quell blaze at Field family home in Shelburne Falls

  • A firefighter cuts a hole in the roof to vent heat and smoke at a house fire on Maple Street in Shelburne Falls Tuesday morning. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Greenfield Fire Chief Robert Strahan talks with the owner of home damaged by fire on Maple Street in Shelburne Falls Tuesday morning. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Multiple towns responded to a house fire on Maple Street in Shelburne Falls Tuesday morning. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Multiple towns responded to a house fire on Maple Street in Shelburne Falls Tuesday morning. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Multiple towns responded to a house fire on Maple Street in Shelburne Falls Tuesday morning. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • A team of firefighters wait to enter the house fire on Maple Street in Shelburne Falls Tuesday morning. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz



Recorder Staff
Tuesday, March 27, 2018

SHELBURNE FALLS — Nine fire departments helped save a burning home from destruction Tuesday morning.

As firefighters put out the fiery remains at 58 Maple St., a stack of photo albums stood on the front yard, a reminder of the 91 years the home has been in the family of Frank Field.

Field’s daughters, Chelsie and Jennifer Field, were not home when the fire was reported by a passerby to the Shelburne Falls Fire Department, shortly before 9 a.m.

“I left (for work) at 8:20, and mom got a call at 8:40,” said Chelsie Field. “It’s a beautiful house. My dad grew up here, so it’s a very special house to us.”

“No one was hurt — that’s the most important thing, and the house is structurally sound,” she said. “That just material items were lost, is the best case in a worst-case scenario.”

Field said she had been preparing to move out this weekend and many of her possessions had been packed in boxes on the first floor. Field did not know how much could be salvaged. “Now I may have fewer things to move,” she said.

“I spent a lot of time on the Fire Department in Shelburne Falls,” said Frank Field, who lives next door to the damaged house that once belonged to his late parents. “Now I’m seeing it from the victim’s viewpoint. It’s devastating.”

He said the house has been in the family since 1927, when it was built. The home was insured and can be restored.

Shelburne Falls Fire Chief Rick Bardwell said the fire appeared to have started in the kitchen and ran up an interior wall to the second floor, and then into the attic. Bardwell explained that the balloon-frame architecture enables the fire to spread quickly to upper stories.

Firefighters cut a hole in the roof to vent the smoke and heat because they were fighting the fire from inside.

At 10:30 a.m., the fire appeared to be under control.

Bardwell said the state Fire Marshal’s Office was to visit the site later in the day. “The cause has not been determined yet,” he said. “It was not suspicious.” He said it appeared to have been an electrical problem.

Shelburne Fire Chief John Taylor said the combined fire departments did “an awesome job” of saving the house.

Fire departments that responded to the fire included: Shelburne Falls, Buckland, Shelburne, Charlemont, Colrain, Conway, Greenfield and Turners Falls. The Ashfield Fire Department provided coverage for the Shelburne Falls station while Charlemont Ambulance responded in case aid was needed.