Fire destroys truck, damages shop in Lanesborough


LANESBOROUGH -- An accidental truck fire at Village Truck Sales in Lanesborough totaled a vehicle and severely damaged a historic building on the property.

Chief Charlie Durfee of the Lanesborough Volunteer Fire Department said the fire was reported around 6:20 a.m. on Thursday morning.

Firefighters arrived at the auto body repair shop on the property where they found a 1991 Peterbilt tractor trailer truck unit engulfed in flames.

"We knocked it out fairly quickly and dragged the truck outside with a fork truck to ensure it was all out," Durfee said.

The department received mutual aid support from the Cheshire, Savoy and Hancock fire departments.

There is no sprinkler system in the repair shop as the business is on a well system. The fire was put out using a foam spray.

Though he consulted with the state arson investigation unit, Chief Durfee ruled the fire accidental due to an apparent electrical shortage in the truck.

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The chief said the truck was a total loss and the building, though structurally sound, sustained heavy heat damage to its interior. In total, Durfee estimated the incident caused a minimum $175,000 in damages.

Robert Szczepaniak, vice president and son of owner Joe Szczepaniak, said the truck was brought in Wednesday for maintenance and repairs.

The building, one of three on the property, is insured but Szczepaniak said the damage is devastating.

Village Truck Sales is a third generation family-owned business that has been in operation for 70 years, according to its website.

"The building that caught fire was our grandfather's original gas station. It's kind of a tearjerker this morning. Even though we're covered insurance wise, there will never be enough money to cover the loss," he said.

Szczepaniak said despite the incident business opened as usual on Thursday.

"The support from the local community and the public has been incredible. Our phones have been ringing off the hook all morningWe're going to keep on going on here," he said.


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