LENOX -- Thanks to a quick-witted passing motorist, Lenox and Great Barrington firefighters knocked 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.
Clifford credited that driver, War ren Maston of Chatham, N.Y., who was heading to 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.
Clifford said 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, Clifford said.
The three residents were given financial assistance for food and clothing by an action team that responded to the scene, said Kate Leene, director at the Berkshire Chapter of the American Red Cross.
The occupants found another place to stay, Leene added, noting that the relief agency will continue to monitor recovery efforts.
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.
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.