GOSHEN - The owners of a home heavily damaged by fire Sunday plan to knock it down, according to a construction worker at the site Monday afternoon.
Fire Chief Sue Labrie said Monday the family was lucky to have gotten out safely, as the home's floor collapsed moments after they walked out.
"They wouldn't have had much time to make it out that front door," Labrie said.
A cat reported missing Sunday night was found dead inside the house Monday morning.
Attempts to reach homeowner Marc Fromm were unsuccessful Monday.
The blaze wrecked one half of the house while leaving the other with only minor smoke damage and charring, according to Labrie.
None of the family were injured, though a Plainfield firefighter suffered a laceration to his forehead while he and other personnel battled the flames. Labrie declined to give his name, but said he would probably need stitches.
The Red Cross assisted the family with temporary shelter and necessities.
Workers from Prospect Builders Inc. of East Longmeadow were busy Monday boarding up the home, located at 40 Shaw Road on a hillside near the Cummington line. One said the family had already removed all salvageable items, and that they were boarding up the doors and windows to keep out trespassers until the house could be demolished.
The fire was reported about 1:20 p.m. Sunday, and led to a response by roughly 70 firefighters and other emergency personnel from Goshen, and eight other communities, Labrie said. Firefighters battled the flames - as well as equipment problems, bitterly cold winds and even icicles forming on their bodies - into the evening.
Labrie said because there are no hydrants in the neighborhood, firefighters used trucks to draw water from Stones Brook at the corner of Route 9 and Loomis Road and then drove it up the hill. The water was then transferred to two "attack engines" situated next to the house.
During the afternoon, Labrie said, a mechanism froze on one fire truck and became inoperable. Another truck suffered a mechanical failure and had to be towed away, she said.
The fire was under control by about 6 p.m. Sunday, though firefighters stayed on the scene until about noon Monday as a precaution.
"No one could see it from the street, so we wanted someone there to make sure it wouldn't rekindle," Labrie said.
The fire started in a basement dryer, and spread quickly throughout the two-story home. Labrie said the homeowner's 15-year-old son tried to put out the fire with an extinguisher before the family fled the house. Two members of the family of five, both girls, were not home at the time the fire broke out, Labrie said.