Youth blamed for Thanksgiving Eve fire in Lanesborough

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LANESBOROUGH — A youth playing with a lighter accidentally set the Thanksgiving eve fire that displaced the family and caused an estimated $100,000 damage.

State and local fire officials have made that determination after investigating the cause of the Nov. 25 blaze at 14 Alice Ave.

Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan and Lanesborough Fire Chief Charles Durfee issued a joint statement on Monday stating a youngster using a lighter igniting cardboard in the basement of the home. The youth involved in the fire will be referred to a juvenile fire-setting intervention program.

"Child and youth-set fires are not uncommon, and we often see more of them around the holidays which can be stressful for children," Durfee said in prepared remarks.

The fire began shortly before 7 p.m., with the youth — the only person home — escaping uninjured. A preliminary report from the State Fire Marshal's office had already ruled the fire was unintentional.

Lanesborough firefighters had help dousing the blaze from Dalton, Cheshire and Hinsdale fire departments.

State fire officials noted youth involved fires can be destructive, injurious and sometimes deadly. Between 2010 and 2014, Massachusetts had 617 juvenile-set fires in that caused one civilian death, 41 civilian and 30 firefighter injuries, and an estimated property loss of $7.6 million.

Fifty-seven percent of these fires were started by children using matches and lighters, according to the State Fire Marshal's Office.

Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233.


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