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Family escapes blaze in Heath

Recorder/Diane Broncaccio
Firefighters were called to fight a fire at this house in Heath on Saturday. All of the familymembers escaped safely.

Recorder/Diane Broncaccio Firefighters were called to fight a fire at this house in Heath on Saturday. All of the familymembers escaped safely.

HEATH — Sandra (Jackman) Donovan watched with tears in her eyes as firefighters put out the last of the flames in her family home on Saturday afternoon, at 15 Clearwater Drive, in the Mohawk Estates complex.

Donovan and her husband, Will, had just driven down to Charlemont to buy food for guests they were expecting Saturday night and came back to a line of fire trucks at their home.

“This was the Jackman House,” said Donovan. “My parents built this house when I was 10 years old. They both passed away, and I took a loan out to keep their house.”

“Everyone got out. Thank God,” she said.

Another thing Donovan was grateful for was an emergency plan she had worked out with her five children, who range in age from 9 to 19 years old. Three of Donovan’s daughters were home at the time and the 16-year-old got the other two out, along with family pets, and called the Fire Department from a neighbor’s house.

Donovan said the Heath Elementary School instilled the importance of an emergency plan in its students. “It worked great,” she said.

Donovan said it looked to her as though “nothing was salvageable.” The Donovan family was planning to spend Saturday night with Kathy Waldron. They were also to meet with representatives from the American Red Cross on Saturday afternoon.

Bruce Herzig, a neighbor, said “We are going to do benefits for these people, through Mohawk Estates.”

Betsy Kovacs, a volunteer with the Heath Fire Department, said nine fire departments responded to the structure fire. Besides Heath, they included Colrain, Charlemont, Whitingham, Vt., and Greenfield.

As of Sunday evening, there was no additional information about the cause of the fire, or whether the home could be fixed. Kovacs said the home was “uninhabitable.”

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at:
dbronc@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 277

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