Fire on Cross Road in Rowe displaces family


Staff Writer

Published: 02-24-2023 6:30 PM

ROWE — A family was displaced after their three-story home at 39 Cross Road was rendered uninhabitable by a fire on Friday afternoon.

First responders were dispatched shortly after 2:30 p.m. According to Charlemont Fire Chief Dennis Annear, the fire caused “heavy damage” to the building’s upper floors, as well as severe water damage on the first floor. The cause had not been officially determined as of late Friday afternoon.

Homeowners Helen and Tom Danek said three of their children and two of their cousin’s children, ages 11 to 22, were home when the fire started.

“They tried putting it out with water and fire extinguishers, but it must have been electrical because it just made the fire go faster,” reported Tom Danek, who said he was in Springfield when the fire started. “Then, of course, they called 911 right away, so it was a pretty quick response.”

Responding agencies included fire departments from Rowe, Charlemont, Shelburne, Buckland, Colrain, Erving, Greenfield, Monroe, Shelburne Falls, Florida and Conway, as well as Readsboro, Halifax, Greensboro, Wilmington and Whitingham in Vermont. The Rowe Police Department, Regional Special Operations team and National Grid were also present.

By the time emergency responders arrived, the home’s five occupants had already escaped the building. They were evaluated for smoke inhalation before an ambulance arrived later in the afternoon.

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“Their oxygen levels are good,” noted Helen Danek, who said she was working in Colrain when the fire started. “Everybody is good. They knew it was better to get out and just leave it.”

Seven pets — six cats and a dog — were also inside the home when the fire started, the Daneks said. The dog and two cats were safe and accounted for by late Friday afternoon, while four cats remained missing.

The Daneks expect nearly all of the home’s contents to be lost. They expressed gratitude for one firefighter who was able to save a computer that contained valuable files.

“She went right in to grab my computer with all my kids’ photos, videos and everything,” Helen Danek said.

She said her home was insured and that her family has somewhere to stay.

Annear said while the fire is believed to be accidental, the State Fire Marshall’s Office would need to determine an official cause. The office responded to the scene Friday evening to investigate.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-930-4231 or