Source: Union-News (Springfield, MA)
Author: FRED CONTRADA
WESTHAMPTON, MA – A woodstove fire that got out of control destroyed a workshop in a remote part of town yesterday.
Fire departments from Chesterfield, Williamsburg and Goshen joined Westhampton firefighters in responding to the blaze at 195 King’s Highway.
The address is in a sparsely developed neighborhood on a dirt section of the rural road. Because one end of King’s Highway is closed because of bridge repairs, Westhampton firefighters had to approach the fire from the other end of town.
Richard D. Ducharme, who lives at 195 King’s Highway, said the building was used by his late brother, William F. Ducharme, for automobile repair work.
“I was in the process of cleaning it up,” said Ducharme, explaining that he built a fire in the woodstove yesterday morning, then went into another building on the property to so some work.
“I heard something pop,” Ducharme said. “When I went back in there was a fire on the floor and it was going up the wall behind the stove.”
The building was filled with jars and cans of flammable liquids and also contained two tanks, one with diesel fuel, Ducharme said. When he failed to get the fire under control, he called the fire department.
Westhampton firefighters received the call at 10:45 a.m. and were on the scene within 15 minutes. Fire Capt. Peter Montague took command of the operation as neighboring towns sent pumpers and tankers. Firefighters used water from a nearby brook to douse the blaze, according to Westhampton Fire Chief John Shaw.
By noon, all that remained of the building was the chimney, some charred timbers and a metal cross-beam. Shaw estimated that the building itself was only worth a few thousand dollars but said the tools and equipment inside were more valuable. Ducharme, who lives at the address with his mother, Dorothy M. Ducharme, said he did not know if the building or its contents are insured.