LANESBOROUGH — A stand-alone garage burned to the ground early Thursday deep in the woods off North Main Street, and investigators are approaching the fire as potential arson.
The state Department of Fire Services issued a press release at noon requesting that "anyone [who] saw or heard people or vehicles in the area, or saw the fire in its earliest stages" call Lanesborough Police or the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
"The investigative team is looking for the public's help in determining the cause of the fire," according to Jennifer Mieth, public information officer of state department.
A total of roughly 30 firefighters from Lanesborough and surrounding towns responded to the blaze and shuttled 25,000 gallons of water 1.5 miles from the nearest hydrant to knock down the flames.
They didn't leave the scene until after 4 a.m.
"There's nothing left but a pile of ashes," Lanesborough Fire Chief Charles Durfee said. "When I was driving by the Old Forge tavern and I could see the glow in the sky, I knew we were in trouble. It lit the whole sky up."
The structure was a 2.5-car garage with dimensions around 20 feet by 30 feet, Durfee said. Located a safe distance from the garage, the home was never under any threat of catching fire.
Greylock Federal Credit Union, which had repossessed the home, was in the process of trying to sell the property.
This prompted Durfee to involve state investigators.
"It makes you wonder, 'What's going on?' " Durfee said. "We knew there were some issues up there. So, the arson investigators are leading a wide-open investigation right now, doing interviews with former owners and anyone who might have saw something."
Passing motorists initially reported the fire.
Because the fire took down the whole structure, Durfee said "no evidence" of what may have caused it exists at the scene.
Other towns who sent firefighters to the scene included Cheshire, Hancock and New Ashford.
Anyone with information about the blaze may contact Lanesborough Police Department at 413-443-4107, or the Office of the State Fire Marshal at 1-800-682-9229.