Fire destroys barn, equipment

KRISTOPHER RADDER - BRATTLEBORO REFORMERCrews responded to a second-alarm fire on Phelps Lane in Whitingham on Tuesday.

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WHITINGHAM — A barn fire on Tuesday ended in a total loss, but without damage to the house on the Phelps Lane property and no injuries to firefighters or the horses living there.

Whitingham Fire Chief Stan Janovsky said the owners were not at the house at the time.

"It's a summer home," he told the Reformer. "There's no power out there or anything."

A tractor, motorcycles and stalls for horses were destroyed in the fire. The horses were in the pasture "so they're all fine," said Janovsky. He believes the owners live in North Adams, Mass.

Janovsky said the cause of the fire is undetermined and not considered suspicious. The call came in Tuesday at about 10 p.m. and the approximately 30-by-40-foot building had already burned to the ground by the time the Whitingham department arrived on scene.

"It's one of the roads you have to go to Readsboro to get to," Janovsky said. "The Readsboro chief upgraded it to a second alarm before we even got there."

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Due to Phelps Lane being one lane, tanker trucks could only come two at a time. And since there was no water supply, a "tanker shuttle" was needed. The Monroe, Mass., department filled tankers with water at a hydrant by Route 100 in Readsboro. Tankers came from fire stations in Stamford, Wilmington and Clarksburg, Mass. Departments from Halifax, Marlboro, and Colrain, Mass., covered stations.

About 50 firefighters were at the scene along with Deerfield Valley Rescue. Janovsky said the owner showed up later. Firefighters from Whitingham arrived back at the station at about 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays

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802-254-2311, ext. 273.