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Firefighters Battle Massive Barn Fire in Chicopee

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WGGB) — Flames shot from all directions from the 230 plus year old barn on Montgomery Street in Chicopee. The fire broke out around 3PM and was called in by a witness.

“Sitting down in that chair here and we heard a loud loud explosion, very loud,” neighbor Ernie LaFlamme said. “We ran out, fire was just starting to come out of the side of the big barn.”

And it only grew from there, taking over the whole building. Intense winds fueled the barn fire and sent embers in all directions.

“A lot of times they can be carried high for a long distance depending on the plume,” Chicopee Deputy Fire Chief Dean Desmarais said. “With the wind today it didn’t have a plume going up very high up into the atmosphere. It was being blown across, the embers were being blown horizontally.”

All the way to the AM-VETS Post 12.

“We picked up on some of the embers. Some of the embers were blowing through, they were quite large,” Bar Manager Susan Grace said.  “Our first reaction was to make sure that it wasn’t coming into the building, threatening our customers, our building, etc.”

Grace says the grove area out back actually caught fire, but didn’t suffer serious damage. Other brush fires fire started in St. Stan’s Cemetery and throughout the neighborhood, threatening nearby homes. Desmarais says Thursday’s conditions were prime.

“It wouldn’t be much worse than the circumstances,” Desmarais said. “We have low humidity, high winds, and a lot of dry vegetation.”

No homes were damaged in the end and nobody was hurt. Meantime, neighbors say the saddest part is losing a historical family barn.

“I felt very, very bad, bad for them as well as losing something that’s been here for years and years, LaFlamme said. “That was a beautiful site, beautiful barn.”





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