Correction: This story has been modified from its original version to reflect that the home was made of polyurethane foam and the owner's name is Denise Barriere.

LANESBOROUGH -- Fire and an apparent explosion on Thursday afternoon destroyed a home, known as "the Flintstone House" at the north end of Pontoosuc Lake.


PHOTO GALLERY | Fire levels house on National St. in Lanesborough


No one was home at the time and no one was injured in the incident, which was reported about 1:30 p.m.

The ’Syrofoam House’ as seen from Pontoosuc Lake about 20 years ago
The 'Syrofoam House' as seen from Pontoosuc Lake about 20 years ago (Submitted by Norman Durfee)


Multiple fire departments responded to the scene at 45 National St., off Bull Hill Road, where firefighters found the unique structure ablaze and debris strewn over a quarter-mile radius surrounding the residence. Smoke could be seen by motorists on Route 7 along the lake.

"I looked out and thought it was fog. I heard ‘boom, boom' and then saw flames above the trees," said George Stowers, a resident who lives a block away on Imperial Street.

Lanesborough Fire Chief Charlie Durfee says an investigator from the state Fire Marshall Office was unable to determine the cause of the fire -- and whether an explosion occurred -- due to the extensive damage. Durfee noted there was no propane gas or other explosive material on site.

The house, currently owned by Denise Barriere of Rhode Island, was built in 1971 and was known to neighbors as the Flintstone House because of it's rounded shape and bedrock appearance. The house was constructed using polyurethane foam insulation, or UFFI, a building material typical of that time period.

The charred insulation, supposedly fire resistant, was spread throughout the neighborhood as a result of the fire and possible blast, but no other homes were damaged, Durfee said.

The burning house created a strong odor in the area and thick smoke could be seen rising above the tree line. However, Durfee said there were no air quality problems once the fire was doused, which took about an hour.

Pittsfield and Cheshire fire departments were called to the scene to provide mutual aid, as well as County Ambulance and Lanesborough Ambulance services.