Friday, December 11, 2009

Sad News: Historic Egremont Inn Total Loss

It's a very sad day here in the Berkshires. I had intended my 200th Insider post to be celebratory, but events intervened.

Earlier today, an historic building in Western Massachusetts was destroyed following an early morning fire, according to local reports. There is no doubt that The Egremont Inn was as important to the region's papermakers through their history here as it was to the local economy - until today.

No one was hurt in the fire, but now more than 225 years of history, dating back to the Revolutionary War, have literally gone up in flames.

Fire and heavy smoke poured out of the building, which is in a national historic district.

According to WTEN in Albany, NY, firefighters say when they arrived on scene the flames were in one room on the bottom of the building and quickly spread from there.

Authorities say it is a complete loss, and because of the intensity of the fire, the effort to put it out is far from over.

"We're putting plenty of water on that," said Great Barrington Deputy Fire Chief Edward McCormick. "The building is too dangerous to allow our firemen to enter the building. That's probably what we're going to be doing for the rest of the day."

Firefighters say the cold weather is not making fighting the flames any easier.

In fact, because of all the water being used on the building, there is the danger of ice forming on the ground around where the firefighters are moving and the hoses freezing, as well.

The inn originally opened as a tavern in 1780.

Video from today's disaster can be seen here.

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