Fire damages building at Berkshire County resort

Posted at: 08/19/2013 12:14 AM
Updated at: 08/19/2013 12:39 AM
By: Steve Flamisch

HANCOCK -- A bathroom exhaust fan caused the fire that filled part of a building with acrid, heavy smoke Sunday at a timeshare resort near Jiminy Peak, authorities said.

A worker noticed the smoke inside Building 6 of Vacation Village Berkshires, building manager Nelo Velarde said. Resort staff called 911 and began pounding on the doors to all 16 units.

"We had to go and check to make sure that there was nobody in the units," Velarde said. "There was nobody inside."

The Hancock, Mass. and Stephentown, N.Y. Volunteer Fire Departments responded to the scene. They traced the fire to the bathroom exhaust fan in a top-floor unit, Hancock Fire Chief Dave Rash said.

"It probably got bound up," Rash told NewsChannel 13. "The motor sat there and cooked and did cause some fire in the attic space. Some of the structural framing in the attic was charred."

Firefighters prevented the flames from spreading to the living space, but the unit in which the fan is located did sustain heavy smoke and water damage, Rash said. That's where Ellie Kraner and her family were staying -- and where they kept their clothing and electronics.

"I think we can handle it," Kraner said. "I may be wearing the same clothes all week but we can handle it."

Velarde, the building manager, said he was relocating Kraner and her family -- and all guests in Building 6 -- to vacant units elsewhere in the resort.

Kraner, who was out to lunch with her family when the fire started, said she would not allow it to wreck her vacation.

"There's nothing that I can't live without that's there," she said.