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Terry Cowgill
Two Berkshire County Sheriff's deputies confer at the intersection of Home Road and Cross Road, as television news crews wait for more information.

Extensive investigation begins after family of five found dead in Sheffield fire ‘incident’

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By Wednesday, Mar 13, 2019 News

Sheffield —  Five people were killed Wednesday “in an incident that involved a home fire in Sheffield,” said Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington in a statement from her office.

Massachusetts State Police and police agencies from Berkshire County and beyond were investigating the scene late Wednesday afternoon. 

At approximately 7:50 a.m. Wednesday, a call for service came into the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office for an active structure fire at 1343 Home Road. Several fire and mutual aid agencies responded and extinguished the flames. 

A primary search revealed the presence of one individual who was dead. A secondary search revealed four additional individuals who were dead. Neither the names of the victims nor the causes of death were available for release on Wednesday, Harrington said. 

“This is an ongoing, extensive investigation with multiple local and state agencies, including the State Police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal and detectives from the State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office,” said DA Harrington, who spoke at a news conference on Wednesday in Sheffield Town Hall and asked for patience but declined to answer reporters’ questions. Harrington did, however, add that the investigation was “complicated.” 

Also responding to the scene of the fire on Wednesday were the Massachusetts State Police Crime Scene Services Section, forensic scientists assigned to the Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory, the Massachusetts State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, Sheffield and Great Barrington police, and fire department crews from Sheffield, Great Barrington, Monterey, Egremont, Richmond, New Marlborough, Canaan, Conn., and Norfolk, Conn. 

According to the state register of deeds, the property has been owned by Luke Edward Karpinski and Justine Wilbur since June 1, 2016. Home Road runs from Brookside Road and Brush Hill Road in Great Barrington to County Road and Maple Avenue in Sheffield. 1343 Home Road is about midway between those two intersections.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Home Road was closed between Brush Hill Road and Cross Road. Members of the news media were not permitted beyond that point. A row of television news trucks was parked there awaiting further information from officials at the scene. 

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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