CLARKSBURG -- Tragedy has struck again for the family of a local veteran who died in a motor vehicle accident in February.
Early Tuesday morning, fire heavily damaged the River Road home the late Christopher J. Stanley shared with his fiancée Britni Maxwell and three children. Stanley, 28, died Feb. 19 when the car he was driving crashed into the flood control chute on Canal Street; a passenger also perished in the crash.
Carlyle "Chip" Chesbro, fire chief of the Clarksburg Volunteer Fire Company, said firefighters were called to the fire at 12:27 a.m., and were at the scene within five minutes. They were at the house until about 4 a.m., he said.
"We were quickly able to control the fire, and then we had all the mop-up work to make sure nothing rekindled or started up again," he said.
He said the fire was caused by a chimney that was in disrepair, which allowed for flue gases to escape and cause the wood in the house to catch on fire.
Family friend Donna Thomas said Tuesday afternoon that everyone got out of the house safely, but the family isn't doing well given the latest circumstances to befall them.
"We're dealing with this as we go along," she said.
Elizabeth Lawson, a cousin who had been staying at the house since Stanley's death to help out, said the dogs and guinea pig also made it out of the home safely.
While the house isn't a total loss, one section is unlivable, Chesbro said.
"We had to remove part of the roof, and we took the chimney down because we thought fire was burning behind it," he said.
The chimney was connected to an oil burner and wood stove, so the house is currently without heat, he said.
The Berkshire County Chapter of the American Red Cross was on scene Tuesday to assist the family.
Assisting Clarksburg firefighters in battling the blaze were members of the Stamford (Vt.) Volunteer Fire Department. The North Adams Fire Department was on standby at its station to respond to other emergency calls in Clarksburg if needed.
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