Read an updated version of this story here.

Monday October 15, 2012

LENOX -- Thanks to an alert from a passing motorist, Lenox and Great Barrington firefighters were able to knock down a weekend fire before it could consume a house occupied by three sleeping residents.

"A tragedy was averted," said Lenox Fire Chief Daniel Clifford on Monday, but it took 37 firefighters from the two towns to put out the accidental blaze at 140 West St., across from Morris Elementary School.

There were no injuries. Residents Wendy Adams, her son Maxwell Adams, and Sharon Alpert escaped the smoke and flames caused by a deteriorated chimney, Clifford said. The house, owned by brothers Marc Zamboni of Pittsfield and Michael Zamboni of Lanesborough, was being leased to the three occupants.

Damage to the home, which was insured, was put at about $90,000, said Clifford.

Clifford credited the passing motorist, Warren Maston of Chatham, N.Y., heading for his job at the Blantyre resort, for spotting the flames on the side of the front door, alerting the occupants and calling in the blaze at 6 a.m. Saturday.

Career and volunteer firefighters assigned to all three Lenox stations, as well as four from Great Barrington manning that town's air truck responded. Three Lenox engines and the town's ambulance were at the scene, while the Lee Fire Department was on standby.

The American Red Cross is assisting the three residents.

Because of smoke, water and structural damage, the house will require extensive renovation, including a new roof, before it can be habitable, according to Clifford.