Investigation continues into deadly Millers Falls house fire

One person is dead and a family is without a place to live after a two-alarm fire ravaged a Franklin County home Tuesday night.
Published: Nov. 8, 2022 at 5:12 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2022 at 5:18 PM EST
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MILLERS FALLS, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - One person is dead and a family is without a place to live after a two-alarm fire ravaged a Franklin County home Tuesday night.

“To know that everything that we had, including my mom, is gone, it’s just, it’s pure torture,” said Tina Verscot.

Verscot was at her home in Millers Falls on Tuesday afternoon when tragedy struck.

“Smelled electric, you know, that electrical smell that you smell and I said to my husband or maybe it’s behind her bed because, you know, a little bit of smoke, so I grab the fire extinguisher. He sprayed it, nothing. Open our door to go down the stairs and big black smoke just hit us,” Verscot added.

She spoke exclusively with Western Mass News and said she was inside with her 66-year-old mother, Judith Verscot, and six-year-old son when the house burst into flames.

“While en route, we received reports of children trapped inside. I requested a second alarm assignment…Initial reports were that everyone was out. We quickly learned that that was not the case. There was one person unaccounted for,” said Turners Falls Fire Chief Todd Brunelle.

Brunelle told Western Mass News the home appears to be a complete loss and crews from his department, along with several other communities, were on-scene for upwards of ten hours attempting to put out the flames. Judith’s partner and property owner, Harry Chapin, said they’ve felt the support from neighbors.

“I’d say it’s been a wonderful response from this community. They’ve all been real good. Somebody took us in last night,” Chapin noted.

Now, with a long road ahead of them, they’re leaning on each other.

“There’s four of us. There’s three adults and a six-year-old, my son Colton, who is also autistic and has ADHD, so we gotta pony up and figure things out,” Verscot said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office and the state fire marshal’s office.

There is a GoFundMe set-up to help the family. You can CLICK HERE for more information.

Millers Falls fire on Bridge Street 110822
Millers Falls fire on Bridge Street 110822(Western Mass News photo)

Further information indicated that several people were able to escape safely, but one person remained unaccounted for. That person, a 66-year-old woman, was later found inside the home and was pronounced dead at the scene.

“On behalf of the Turners Falls Fire Department, I want to express our deepest condolences to the victim’s family and loved ones…This is a tragedy for them and for our community,” said Turners Falls Fire Chief Todd Brunelle in a statement.

Approximately half a dozen fire departments provided mutual aid at the fire.

The displaced residents are being helped by the Red Cross.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Turners Falls Fire Department, Montague Police, and State Police assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s office and Northwestern District Attorney’s office.