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Fire destroys building used as art studio

SARAH GANZHORN
Fire crews from Shutesbury, Amherst, and Pelham responded to a fire in a shed at 45 Schoolhouse Road in Shutesbury Friday afternoon. No injuries were reported and Shutesbury Fire Captain Chris Hasbrouck said he did not believe the fire to be arson, or to be connected with Halloween.

SARAH GANZHORN Fire crews from Shutesbury, Amherst, and Pelham responded to a fire in a shed at 45 Schoolhouse Road in Shutesbury Friday afternoon. No injuries were reported and Shutesbury Fire Captain Chris Hasbrouck said he did not believe the fire to be arson, or to be connected with Halloween.

SHUTESBURY — An outbuilding used as an art studio at Juniper Hill Farm at 45 Schoolhouse Road burned to the ground by the time firefighters arrived.

A woodstove had been left burning overnight in the building, said Christopher Hasbrouck, a captain in the on-call Shutesbury Fire Department. The structure “was completely down with hardly any smoke — it was free burning,” he said.

No injuries were reported in the Friday fire.

Hasbrouck described the building as an “8-by-10-foot shack” without electricity which contained mostly oil paintings and clay pots. It also had a woodstove that was left burning after people were using the building until shortly before midnight Thursday, he said.

In a brief interview Friday night, owner Alisande Cunningham Sweeney said of the structure that burned, “It’s just an outbuilding.” She added that the loss included, “My very first paintings. It was an art studio. I’m still reeling from this. It’s just very unfortunate.”

Seventeen firefighters and equipment from Shutesbury, Amherst, Leverett, Pelham, Wendell, New Salem, Montague and Orange responded to the blaze, according to Pelham Fire Chief Raymond A. Murphy Jr. It was reported about 2:05 p.m.

Juniper Hill Farm, which is run by Sweeney, is identified on the Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture website as “a nine-acre educational farm offering classes in sustainable living, gardening, herbal medicine and humane livestock management.”

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