A teenager is facing arson-related charges in the fire that occurred over this past weekend at the former Searles School on Bridge Street in Great Barrington. According to officials, including Great Barrington Fire Chief Charles Burger, Great Barrington Police Chief Paul Storti, and State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey, the youth's name is being withheld because he is under the age of 17.

The suspect will be summoned to court...

The unidentified suspect is going to be summoned to appear in Berkshire Juvenile Court at a date to be named later. Fire Chief Burger called it fortunate that the fire didn't grow...

Every fire has the potential to hurt someone... We’re fortunate that this particular incident didn’t grow larger and put the community or the firefighters who serve them at risk.

 

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According to a media release issued by State Fire Marshal Peter Ostrockey and sent to us by Police Chief Paul Stori, the fire department was alerted to the fire by a 9-1-1 call that came in shortly after 5:00 PM on Sunday. Upon arriving on the scene firefighters observed smoke coming from one of the vacant school building's windows.

 

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Firefighters were able to put the fire out quickly after entering the single room that was involved. There were combustible materials on fire in the room. The fire did not spread any further. It was also determined that the fire was started on a piece of furniture in the room.

A serious issue in Massachusetts...

Fire Marshal Ostroskey says that juvenile firesetting is a serious issue that contributes to dozens of fires every year in Massachusetts. He says that roughly half of these fires are started using smoking materials such as matches and lighters.

 

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