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New Salem’s deputy fire chief’s carpentry business burned

NEW SALEM — When the storage and workshop building on Route 202 went up in smoke early Sunday morning, it took a local volunteer firefighter’s business with it.

Now, the New Salem Firefighters’ Association is seeking donations to rebuild Deputy Chief Larry Eaton’s carpentry business.

Fire Chief Joseph Cuneo said the fire destroyed the accumulated tools and materials of two decades in business, as well as cutting power to Eaton’s nearby home and burying and likely polluting his well.

The building and its contents were not insured.

As of Tuesday, the fire remained under investigation by the Fire Marshal’s Office, and Cuneo said his department has no indication of a cause.

“It was a very hot fire and the burn was pretty complete; I don’t know that we’ll ever know what the cause was,” Cuneo said.

Thirteen departments helped fight the fire at 837 Daniel Shays Highway.

The Firefighters’ Association is accepting donations on Eaton’s behalf for the moment and may plan a benefit event, said President Cameron Dunbar.

Such efforts are the founding rationale for firefighters’ associations, which exist for most departments and typically comprise current and former members.

“That is the backbone of why they’re there — it’s really to support the fire department, and there’s no better way to make that mission happen than to do this,” Dunbar said.

Cuneo said Eaton will have served the town for 41 years this year as a member of the all-volunteer call force. With 11 members, all of whom have full-time jobs, the department is typically able to field an engine crew of three on a weekday, Cuneo said, and like most area departments is in need of more volunteers.

The association is accepting donations addressed to: The New Salem Firefighters’ Association, Eaton Fund, c/o Dan Cook, Treasurer, 208 Cooleyville Road, New Salem, MA 01355.

You can reach Chris Curtis at: ccurtis@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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