Backfiring motorcycle sets Parkview Drive home ablaze
by Town Reminder
Editor’s note: This is an update to a story originally posted at 3 p.m.
SOUTH HADLEY – A backfiring motorcycle was the cause of a garage fire which eventually consumed the majority of a one-story wooden home at 10 Parkview Drive Wednesday afternoon.
After hearing an explosion and seeing a truck on fire, a neighbor called the fire department at 1:02 p.m. By the time firefighters had arrived on scene minutes later after receiving the delayed alarm, the structure was fully involved.
David Kettles was inside the garage, working on his Honda 700 motorcycle, when he said it backfired and fell on him. Uninjured, he was able to get out from under the bike. With his truck parked in front of the garage, Kettles said he was unable to push the motorcycle out of the garage. “I got an extinguisher from the kitchen and I emptied the extinguisher in two seconds,” he said. “And that was the end of that.”
The home is owned by Frederick Czupkiewicz, who was inside the residence at the time of the fire. Kettles, the boyfriend of Czupkiewicz’s daughter, said Czupkiewicz went downstairs to open a door for the family’s three cats to escape. One cat was found alive inside the home and given oxygen. It was later transported to a veterinarian. Both Kettles and Czupkiewicz were able to exit safely, as well.
“It was fully involved,” said Fire District No. 1 Chief Robert Authier. “Fire was coming out of the eaves near the chimney.” When he arrived on scene, the fire had already taken a hold of the attic space. Strong winds worked against firefighters’ efforts, pushing the fire back into the attic.
Nearly an hour later, the fire was knocked down and firefighters continued to check for hot spots. Both Fire District No. 1 and No. 2 responded to the fire. District No. 2 sent fire engines 2 and 4, in addition to an ambulance, as part of protocol. Fire District No. 1 sent engine 3 and a ladder truck. SHELD was called to the scene to turn off power lines attached to the home that were above the flames.
Fire hoses were stretched through neighboring yards to the back yard of 10 Parkview Drive to attack from all angles. The flames were so substantial, the white siding on the home to the left of 10 Parkview Drive had melted.
Holyoke Fire Department covered the Fire District No. 1 station and Hadley Fire Department manned the Fire District No. 2 station while the South Hadley firefighters fought the flames.
By 2:30, one fire engine remained on scene to watch for any hot spots.
Authier deemed the home a total loss. According to the Board of Assessors, the home is valued at 190,400.