Police suspect arson in boat fire


Friday April 29, 2011

PITTSFIELD -- City fire investigators suspect arson is behind the outdoor fire that damaged six large boats on West Housatonic Street.

The late night blaze on Tuesday occurred around 10:30 behind the Pittsfield Plaza, where about 50 to 60 privately owned water craft were being stored.

The fire heavily damaged four boats and partially scorched two others, causing an estimated $100,000 worth of damage, according to Pittsfield Deputy Fire Chief Mark Cancilla.

Cancilla believes a person or persons likely set ablaze the four pontoon boats and two inboard/outboard motorboats.

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"We noticed a strong smell of gasoline and some oil around the boats," Cancilla said on Thursday.

No injuries were reported. Firefighters needed an hour to douse the blaze.

The Pittsfield Police Department and state fire marshal's office, along with city fire investigators, are all looking for suspects in the case.

Anyone with information regarding the boat fire can call a confidential state arson hotline at 1-800-682-9229. A $5,000 reward is being offered for any tips that lead to an arrest.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
or (413) 496-6233.


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