BERNARDSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The State Fire Marshal’s Office released the cause of the fire on Turners Falls Road in Bernardston.
According to the Bernardston Fire Department, at around 5:30 p.m. Monday crews were called to a fire on 178 Turners Falls Road. The fast-moving fire resulted in the total loss of the home. No residents or pets were inside the home at the time of the fire.
Jake Wark of the State Fire Marshal’s Office told 22New that the fire was accidental. It most likely started with a wood stove above the ceiling, said Bernardston Fire Chief Peter Shedd and State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey.
Crews from Erving, Gill, Greenfield, Northfield, South Deerfield, Turners Falls, and Brattleboro, Guilford, and Vernon, Vermont assisted.
“Today is the first day of winter, and with home energy prices rising we expect to see fireplaces and wood stoves working overtime for the next few months,” said Chief Shedd. “I want to remind everyone in our community to keep anything that can burn at least three feet away on all sides, use a screen in front of the fireplace or keep the door of the wood stove closed when it’s in use, and extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house. When you dispose of ashes, put them in a metal can with a tight-fitting lid, not the trash, and place it at least 10 feet from the home.”
“Home heating equipment is the second-leading cause of residential fires, and solid fuel appliances like fireplaces and wood stoves account for a rising percentage over the past five years,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “We recommend having heating equipment, including chimneys and flues, professionally checked every year. Regular maintenance can help identify problems before they become emergencies and ensure your heating system is running efficiently.”
According to the State Fire Marshal’s report, fires in Massachusetts caused by solid fuels to heat homes have increased in the last five years from 35% to nearly 43%. Officials are reminding residents to make sure there are working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms at home, especially during the winter, when residential fires and CO incidents increase.
Smoke alarms should be replaced after 10 years and CO alarms after five to seven years. The manufacturing dates are printed on the back.
“Working smoke and CO alarms are your family’s first line of defense against these hazards,” the fire officials agreed. “Be sure they’re on every level of your home, change the batteries twice a year, and test them each month to be sure they’re working properly.”