The Berkshire County District Attorney addressed members of the media at a news conference regarding the five people found dead in a house fire on Home Road Wednesday morning.
DA Andrea Harrington identified the victims on Thursday as a family of five; Luke Karpinski, Justine Wilbur, both 41, and three very young kids. The young children were 7-year-old twins and a 3-year-old.
Investigators are considering the incident as a murder-suicide, naming Karpinski as the assailant.
The Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office received a call about an active structure fire at 1343 Home Road around 7:50 a.m. on Wednesday, which multiple fire and mutual aid agencies responded.
Crews initially found one person dead after searching the home when the fire was extinguished. Further investigation revealed four other people who were also dead upstairs.
At a news conference on Wednesday, the DA described their work as a “complicated investigation” involving several local and state agencies.
In the small Southern Berkshire town of Sheffield, people are still processing the loss of a family of five in what police believe to be a “quadruple murder-suicide.” DA Harrington does not believe the public faces any threat.
Karpinski is said to be an attorney, and Albany law firm Hoffman Warnick identified Wilbur as a patent attorney at their firm. They called Wilbur a devoted mother with an infectious spirit.
“It is with grief and immeasurable sorrow that we learned of the death of our friend and colleague Justine M. Wilbur, who died with her family yesterday in Sheffield, Massachusetts.
Justine was a talented attorney who joined our team in 2017 after having built a reputation both domestically and internationally as a patent expert. Her work was both meaningful and challenging having encompassed topics ranging from cancer treatment and nanotechnology to advanced materials.
Justine was smart, knowledgeable, dedicated and hardworking. She was a devoted mother to her wonderful children and a true friend to everyone in our firm.
We are each devastated by loss and extraordinary sadness but are comforted and grateful for having shared Justine’s infectious spirit and energy.
We pray for her family and those who loved her.
One Sheffield man said parents and kids alike are having to come to terms with the terrible thing that took place in their town.
“Their kids went to the same school as mine did, they probably at least met each other, played together.,” said David Rogers-Thieriot of Sheffield. “They have things going on, counselors and stuff. It’s always a tragedy.”
The cause of death is to be determined as the bodies from the deadly fire have been taken to Boston for the Chief Medical Examiner to perform autopsies.
This is still an active investigation, in which State Police investigators and the State Fire Marshal’s Office are assisting, combing through the house on Home Road to find more answers.