Thursday April 12, 2012

CHESHIRE -- A wood stove is being blamed for an early morning fire that damaged a home on Notch Road on Wednesday.

Fire Chief Tom Francesconi said the blaze was reported at 3:18 a.m. as either a structure or chimney fire. When he arrived at the scene, there was heavy smoke and fire coming from the rear of the residence at 562 Notch Road, he said.

"The initial engine company did an interior attack to extinguish the fire, and it was under control by 4:39 a.m.," he said.

The home is owned by Linda Tatro, who was home at the time of the blaze with her daughter, Jillian. Both got out of the house safely and are being assisted by the Berkshire County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Francesconi said there was also a family of nine cats living in the house, and firefighters rescued four kittens from the home. The kittens were later reunited with their parents and siblings.

The fire was contained to an enclosed room attached to the house, and most of the damage was on the right-hand side back corner of the house, Francesconi said.

"The guys made a good stop," he said.

The fire began on the backside of the chimney to the wood stove and spread to the wall, ceiling and then went up into the roof, he said.

Tatro's daughter said Wednesday night that the house was built in 1948 by her mother's parents, and has a lot of memories.

There is quite a bit of electrical damage, and at this point, they're not sure if the house will continue to be a year-round residence or a camp, she said.

"The structure is going to stay there," she said.

She said her mother didn't have insurance on the house, and she is hoping to set up an account for donations at the Adams Community Bank, and organize a benefit dinner for her mother.

Tatro's daughter said this is the second time her mother has been through a fire, and the first time 26 years ago, she lost everything.

"It's a devastating situation for her," she said.

Firefighters with the volunteer fire departments in Savoy and Lanesborough assisted Cheshire firefighters along with the Adams Forest Wardens. Members of the Adams Fire Department stood by at the Cheshire Fire Station.

Francesconi said since the house was located outside the area covered by hydrants, they had to use tankers to shuttle water to the scene.

To reach Meghan Foley, email mfoley@thetranscript.com