Sandisfield looking for help after DPW headquarters destroyed by fire


SANDISFIELD, MASS. (WWLP) – The Berkshire County town of Sandisfield can’t remove any snow, or salt and sand the roads.

Just after 9:30 Sunday morning, a fire started inside the Sandisfield Highway Department building.

The building does not have any fire alarms or smoke detectors. Two passersby saw the flames and called 911.

Sandisfield Fire Chief Ralph Morrison arrived just four minutes after the call. Flames were already shooting through the roof.

The six-alarm fire destroyed four plow and sanding trucks. It is the town’s entire armada of DPW highway equipment. The building was destroyed as well.

Just over a year ago, on November 20th, 2016, the town of Tolland which borders Sandisfield had their DPW headquarters destroyed in a fire. It left them in the same situation.

Chief Morrison told 22News they have been consulting with Tolland and what to do next. They are hoping to recoup some of their losses through the insurance company. Chief Morrison said one of the trucks was brand new and costs about $160,000.

A public meeting will be held Monday at 9:00AM at the Sandisfield Town Hall Annex building to discuss how to handle snow removal efforts for the winter. Town officials will meet with state officials. They are planning to ask surrounding towns for assistance.

It’s not clear what caused the massive inferno, but it is not considered suspicious. The State Fire Marshal is investigating. Chief Morrison told 22News the fire started just 10 minutes after the crew working there left for the night.

The surrounding towns of Tolland, Monterey, Otis and a couple of Connecticut Departments helped Sandisfield put the fire out. There are no fire hydrants in the area so water had to be pumped into tankers from the nearby river.

22News also learned that about a half hour after the fire started, an Otis fire truck on it’s way to the fire hit black ice on Route 8 near mile marker 7 in Sandisfield and crashed. State Police Trooper Dominik DiTomaso of the barracks in Lee told 22News, one firefighter was taken to Berkshire Medical Center just as a precaution. That same spot of black ice caused a separate car accident at the same time.

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