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Fire destroys North Canaan home

People and horses all safe

NORTH CANAAN — A fire raged through a Moses Mead Road home Monday, Jan. 30, destroying in about two hours the residence of Michael Subklew and Rudy Molina.

No one was home at the time and there were no injuries related to the fire. Four horses in a stable about 50 feet behind the house remained safe in an adjoining fenced field while firefighters from eight towns battled the very stubborn blaze. They were hampered by an unsteady supply of water and gusty winds.

Canaan Fire Company’s aerial ladder truck was first in, but key to the attack was getting water to it. A succession of tankers arrived and refilled at a stream around the corner on Carlson Road, but it was not enough.

Flames became trapped high in the home’s cathedral ceiling and could not be extinguished until they had consumed the roof. Heavy smoke rolled across Canaan Valley.

Subklew owned the barn-red  log home for 19 years. The property straddles the Massachusetts state line.

He told The Journal he had been at work when he got the call. Molina had run out on an errand but had not been gone long when a neighbor saw smoke and called 911. The first dispatch, for both North Canaan and Lakeville Hose Co. went out at 12:57 p.m. The fire volunteers arrived to find flames shooting out of the south side of the house.

In the next 20 minutes, Norfolk, Sheffield, New Marlborough, Falls Village, Cornwall and Sharon were dispatched. The primary need was for a tanker brigade.

At about 1:45 pm., North Canaan’s ladder was dropped to the north side of the house, where flames still poured out of an upper window. A fireman sprayed foam and water inside toward the underside of the roof, but there was already little left to be saved.

Subklew was comforted at the scene by Norfolk Fire Chaplain Erick Olson, who is also his pastor.

John Deely arrived from Falls Village, toting a bag of carrots for his horse, who boards there. Of course the fire came as a shock. He was relieved to find both his horse and his friend were safe, and offered to fetch a coat for Subklew, who watched his home burn while wrapped in a blue ambulance blanket.

“I have on all the clothes I have left,” Subklew said, as the reality of the situation began to set in.

Still, he was smiling and said he would be fine. He owns buildings where he can stay and already had an offer from a neighbor.

“I’m not sure what I should do now,” he said, “but at least no one was hurt.”

Fire Marshal Michael Fitting was on the scene and called the state fire marshal’s office in to help with the investigation.

They were on the scene until about 10:30 p.m. but are still calling the fire’s origin undetermined. The investigation continued with several possible causes.

Fitting said a pellet stove, which was in use when the fire started, was ruled out.

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