Cause of 'unintentional' Lenox Dale fire remains unclear

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LENOX — The Sunday afternoon fire that seriously damaged a two-family home in Lenox Dale remains under investigation, Fire Chief Dan Clifford said on Monday.

"We've narrowed the cause down to a couple of possibilities," he said following a Sunday night visit by investigators from the State Fire Marshal's office. "It was unintentional."

The two-alarm blaze, which displaced two families, began either in the basement or inside the first-floor walls of the 5 Crystal St. building, formerly a package store, in the heart of the village, the chief said.

Whether the house, assessed by the town at $192,300, can be saved remains unclear, Clifford said. Lenox Building Inspector Don W. Fitzgerald has asked an engineer to examine the condition of the structure, the chief added. Fitzgerald could not be reached immediately for comment.

The fire displaced building owner Richard Shove, his wife, their four children ages 4, 6, 10 and 23, as well as tenant Brenda Raftery and her two adult children. All escaped uninjured and are being accommodated in temporary housing through the Berkshire County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Shove had called 911 around 3:45 p.m. Sunday after smelling smoke from the basement while watching the Patriots football game.

With the help of 50 firefighters from Lenox, Great Barrington, Lee, Stockbridge and Hinsdale, the fire that damaged the basement and first floor was declared under control within 90 minutes.

Contact Clarence Fanto at 413-637-2551.


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