, Newburyport, MA


February 9, 2013

Blizzard blaze destroys West Newbury home

Storm made firefighting difficult at scene off Merrimack River


"It's unfortunate, but it seems to happen," Berkenbush said.

While West Newbury is a call Fire Department, given that past history, Berkenbush took measures to staff the town's fire station Friday night. He knew that if a fire broke out, his call firefighters would have trouble getting to the station to then respond to the scene. In hindsight, his advance planning proved a smart call.

The fire was still under investigation Saturday afternoon. While Berkenbush wasn't ready to report a cause, he said officials seemed to have an idea of how it started. He did advise people considering the use of alternate heat sources to take caution.

The house was built in 1991, according to town records. The Renaus bought it in 2007 from Clifford Irons for $867,500. It is situated off River Road on a private driveway called Ironwood Way.

Berkenbush wasn't aware if the Renaus were able to save anything in the house before escaping. They were stayed with a neighbor as firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze. As of Saturday afternoon, they had not yet been back in their home, the chief said.

"It's a loss," Berkenbush said.

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