Business owner charged with arson in Great Barrington

Berkshire County

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. (WWLP) — A Great Barrington business owner has been arrested and charged with arson Wednesday.

According to the Great Barrington Police Department, 82-year-old Harry Sano was arrested at his home on East Street with the assistance of Massachusetts State Police for causing a fire at a building he owns on Stockbridge Road on July 7.

There were no reported injuries, and no one was living at the building complex.

“Though the building was vacant, the act of setting fire to any structure poses a life and safety hazard to civilians and firefighters alike,” said Chief Storti. “I’d like to thank the investigative team for working so hard to identify the facts and circumstances surrounding what we allege was a deliberately set fire.”

An investigation of the fire was conducted by the Great Barrington Police Department along with Great Barrington Fire Department, and members of the State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s office.

PHOTOS: 232 Stockbridge Road Fire

Sano is scheduled to be arraigned July 26 to answer for the following charges:

  • Arson of a dwelling house
  • Presenting a false insurance claim
  • Burning a building to defraud an insurer

According to the Great Barrington Fire Department, at around 8 p.m. July 7, crews responded to a fire located at 232 Stockbridge Road, the old Wonderful Things building. Smoke was seen coming out of the old two-and-a-half-story building. The fire was put out by midnight with the help of crews in the basement, first, and second floors.

“Great Barrington firefighters battled heavy smoke coming from every area of the structure and flames in the basement, first floor, and second floor,” said Chief Burger. “With mutual aid companies from Sheffield and Monterey, they did an outstanding job of preventing the fire from spreading to other nearby buildings and minimizing damage to the building itself.”

Additional crews assisted with putting out the fire included the Great Barrington fire crew who responded with three engines, a ladder, and rescue, a ladder from Monterey, and an engine from Sheffield. Southern Berkshire Ambulance and the Great Barrington Fire Department Support Group provided rehab on the scene. Stockbridge, Sheffield, and Egremont Fire Departments covered the fire calls in Great Barrington.

“Arson is an extremely serious offense and we investigate it as such,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “Fire doesn’t do what it’s told. It can burn faster and spread further than expected, claiming life and property without warning. We urge anyone with information on an arson fire to share it with investigators or contact the Arson Watch Reward Program at 1-800-682-9229.”

Rewards of up to $5,000 are available from the Arson Watch Reward Program for information that helps to solve arson crimes.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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