Hilltown Digest: Storm aftermath in Worthington: Home destroyed by fire, police cruiser totaled

  • Andy Stevens has been promoted to lieutenant in the Plainfield Fire Department. Submitted photo

  • Jamie Wooldridge has been promoted to lieutenant in the Plainfield Fire Department. Submitted photo

  • Rob Shearer, who has served in the Plainfield Fire Department for 25 years, has been promoted to captain/EMT-B. Submitted photo

  • A fire likely caused by a lighting strike destroyed this home at 5 West St. last Thurday afternoon.  SUBMITTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 8/16/2021 6:00:25 PM

WORTHINGTON — A lightning strike during an intense thunderstorm last Thursday is the likely cause of a fire that destroyed a West Street home.

Fire Chief Kyle Challet said that the department got the call about the 5 West St. fire a little after 5 p.m.

“It started in the garage,” Challet said, who said that the fire had spread into the attic by the time he arrived on the scene.

He said that the fire was mostly knocked down within an hour and that “it’s pretty much a total loss for the house.”

The house was owned by Robert and Diane Bartlett, and while no person was hurt Challet said that he believes they lost a cat in the fire.

Challet said that while the cause of the fire is under investigation, evidence is pointing to a lightning strike. He praised the mutual aid response, which pulled in multiple towns.

“It was a great response,” he said.

Police vehiclea total loss in crash

A Worthington police vehicle was wrecked last Thursday night, although the officer driving it suffered only superficial injuries.

Police Chief Robert Reinke said that the officer was responding to a mutual aid call from Chesterfield and crashed in foggy conditions on wet roads.

No other vehicle was involved in the crash.

Man injured intractor accident

A Plainfield man was transported to the hospital after a tractor ran over him last Wednesday.

The man was haying in a field off of Grant Street when he slipped off the tractor and was run over by one of its rear tires, according to the Plainfield Fire Department.

The fire department responded to the scene and the man, who had traumatic mid-body injuries, was taken by Highland Ambulance paramedics to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield.

Plainfield Fire Chief David Alvord described the accident as “pretty unusual but we have seen it before.”

He said that the man, who was in a lot of pain at the site, is recovering from his injuries.

Alvord also said that over the last couple of months the fire department’s call count has jumped up, and he’s heard this from other agencies as well.

“People are out and about I guess,” he said.

Plainfield FD promotions

Three members of the Plainfield Fire Department have received promotions.

Rob Shearer, who has served in the department for 25 years, has been promoted to captain/EMT-B, while Jamie Wooldridge and Andy Stevens were both promoted to lieutenant.

“All of them certainly are deserving of it,” said Fire Chief David Alvord. “They’re all hard-working people.”

He also said that these promotions set the department up for the future.

“I’m not going to be here forever,” he said.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.

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