Fire damages Daniel Bellow Pottery studio in Great Barrington

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GREAT BARRINGTON — An attic fire early Wednesday caused around $40,000 in damage to a downtown pottery studio, according to the Great Barrington Fire Department.

Firefighters responded to the blaze just before 8 a.m., and were able to quickly knock down the fire, which was contained to the attic of Daniel Bellow Pottery at 17 Railroad Ave. Overhaul and extinguishing hot spots, however, was a "slow process," Fire Chief Charles Burger said in a statement.

Firefighters were careful to avoid damaging pottery inside the studio, which is located inside a converted garage, and the building's roof.

The fire was caused by combustible materials in the ceiling, which had been dried out over the years by the heat of the kiln, Burger said.

"It is not considered suspicious," he wrote.

There was a minimal loss to contents inside the studio.

"Our firefighters worked hard in the cold this morning and made a quick stop on the fire," Burger said in a statement. "We are glad we were able to limit the damage to a local business and hope Daniel Bellow Pottery is able to get back into full operation soon."

Bellow, who has worked out of that studio for more than three years, said Thursday that he is awaiting a call from his insurance adjusters.

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He lives about 50 feet away from his studio and was the one to discover the fire Wednesday morning.

"I woke up, I fed the dogs, I made a cup of coffee," he said. "I see what I think is water vapor coming off the ridge line of the studio."

Upon closer inspection, though, he realized that the vapor was actually smoke. After calling 911, Bellow ran to the studio and used a garden hose to try to keep the fire contained until the firefighters arrived seven minutes later.

As a former reporter, Bellow said, there are two things you dread hearing together.

"The first one is structure fire, and the second one is your address," he said.

When firefighters arrived they took over the scene, "swarming all over it," he said.

While there is a lot of cleaning up to do, and repairs needed to the ceiling and possibly the roof, Bellow expects to be back in production next year. He is planning a Black Friday "fire sale" for the pieces that survived the blaze.

Haven Orecchio-Egresitz can be reached at horecchio@berkshireeagle.com, @HavenEagle.com, and 413-770-6977.


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