fire | WAMC


Trial by Fire book cover
MacMillan Publishers / MacMillan Publishers

All it took for a hundred people to die during a show by the hair metal band Great White was a sudden burst from four giant sparklers that ignited the acoustical foam lining the Station nightclub. But who was at fault? And who would pay? This being Rhode Island, the two questions wouldn't necessarily have the same answer.

"Trial By Fire" by Scott James is the story of the fire's aftermath because while the fire, one of America's deadliest, lasted minutes, the search for the truth would take years.

Bestselling author and three-time Emmy Award-winning journalist Scott James investigates all the central figures, including the band's manager and lead singer, the fire inspector, the maker of the acoustical foam, as well as the brothers.

Burning bales of hay send up thick clouds of smoke over a farm field at night

A Dalton, Massachusetts man was arraigned in Central Berkshire District Court Tuesday on a charge of burning personal property after being accused of setting a political display on fire Friday.

A political display in Dalton lasted one day before it was set on fire
Photo provided to WAMC by Megan Whilden

Vivid images out of Berkshire County on social media Friday night after a large stack of hay bales painted “USA Biden/Harris 2020” was torched.

The frame of a stadium is filled with smoke and flames as fire crews on foot and on a crane spray it with water
Pownal Fire Department

An abandoned racetrack in Pownal, Vermont caught fire Wednesday night, leading to a multi-agency response well into today.

Joe Donahue: People prepared for the worst, but they didn't always comprehend how awful the worst could be. The campfire in November 2018, was the deadliest wildfire in America in a century, and the deadliest ever recorded in California history. It burned the town of Paradise, home to 27,000 to the ground, and it was a harbinger of fires to come. In the new book “Fire in Paradise: An American Tragedy”, reporters Alastair Gee and Dani Anguiano of The Guardian tell the story of the destruction wrought by the campfire, creating an account of how the fire happened and why fires like it will happen again. The name of the book is “Fire in Paradise“. 

The City of Saratoga Springs has advanced a long-awaited project to locate a fire/EMS facility on the city’s east side. 

Rcsprinter123 / Wikimedia

Sunday morning, three buildings were burned to the ground in Mount Washington, Massachusetts, a small, remote Berkshire town in the state’s southwest  corner between New York and Connecticut. Brian Tobin serves as select board member, director of emergency management, and acting police chief in the community of around 160. He spoke to WAMC about the fires, their impact on the people of Mount Washington, and what authorities are doing to respond.

This is a picture of the icon of the Pittsfield Fire Department
Twitter: @PittsfieldFire

Authorities have identified the three people killed in a fire early Saturday in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Susan Orlean’s latest bestseller, “The Library Book,” is an investigation into a 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Central Library that consumed 400,000 volumes and damaged another 700,000. In addition to shedding light on what happened, it is a celebration for an institution she’s cherished since she was a kid.

Created and produced by the New York State Writers Institute, University Art Museum, and UAlbany Performing Arts Center in collaboration with WAMC Northeast Public Radio, the Creative Life series features leading figures from a variety of artistic disciplines in conversation with Joe Donahue about their creative inspiration, craft, and careers.

On Friday, March 1 at 8 p.m., Joe will be joined by Susan Orlean, author of the current New York Times bestseller, "The Library Book." A staff writer at The New Yorker for a quarter century, Orlean is the author of seven books, including "The Orchid Thief," an international bestseller that became the hit film "Adaptation."

On Saturday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m., Orlean and co-host Sarah Thyre will present a live taping of their Earwolf podcast, "Crybabies" in the Sosnoff Theater at the Bard Fisher Center with guests Michael Ian Black, Karen Chee, and Gary Shteyngart.

When a stolen car is recovered on the Gulf Coast of Florida, it sets off a search for a missing woman, local motel owner Sabine Musil-Buehler. Three men are named persons of interest: her husband, her boyfriend, and the man who stole the car. The residents of Anna Maria Island, with few facts to fuel their speculation, begin to fear the worst. Then, with the days passing quickly, her motel is set on fire, her boyfriend flees the county, and detectives begin digging on the beach.

Cutter Wood was a guest at Musil-Buehler’s motel as the search for the missing woman gained momentum, and he found himself drawn steadily deeper into the case. His book is "Love and Death in the Sunshine State: The Story of a Crime."

Cairo-Durham Little League Facebook Page

The community is struggling to come to terms with a fire that authorities say killed five people in Greene County, New York this week. 

State police say five people are dead and one is hospitalized in critical condition after a house fire in the rural Greene County hamlet of East Durham. The fire broke out around 7:30 a.m. Monday in a home along Route 145 in East Durham, 25 miles southwest of Albany. Photos from the scene show nothing left of the home but a charred framework. State police say the identities of the victims cannot be confirmed yet and the causes of death are pending autopsies. The cause of the fire is under investigation.


Fire officials in Vermont say a blaze destroyed an iconic family-owned farm on Sunday.


Three people including one child are dead and two injured after an early morning fire destroyed a home in the City of Rensselaer.

Picture of a judge's gavel
WikiMedia Commons

The former building manager of a multi-family structure across from Schenectady City Hall that burned three years ago has pleaded guilty to four counts of criminally negligent homicide.

The Daily Gazette reports 39-year-old Jason Sacks of Scotia faces 1 to 3 years in state prison at sentencing in March.

Troy Fire Department

Officials say an inferno that destroyed or damaged nearly two dozen buildings in a city in upstate New York was sparked by an amateur bladesmith.

The blaze broke out Thursday in downtown Cohoes, near Albany, and was hampered by winds.

The Times Union of Albany reports three buildings were destroyed and 18 others were damaged. The city is under a state of emergency.

Officials are investigating after an explosion at an asphalt plant in the Schenectady County town of Glenville rocked neighbors Thursday morning.


Vermont State Police are investigating the cause of a fire in Williamstown that led to the death of a 6-year old.

WAMC Composite Photo by Dave Lucas

Authorities say one person has died and another has been injured in a fire at a home in Saratoga Springs.

Fire Destroys Homes In Albany's Historic Center Square

Jul 18, 2017
Fire on Madison Avenue in Albany
Paul Gallo

Fire officials in upstate New York say multiple historic buildings have been destroyed in a fire.

Authorities say the fire started around 9 p.m. on Madison Avenue near Lark Street in Albany. Crews from Watervliet and Troy assisted the Albany Fire Department in containing the blaze.

Anita Shreve is the New York Times best-selling author of The Weight of Water and The Pilot's Wife. Her latest,

The Stars are Fire, brings 1947 – the year Maine burned – to life, in a story about an extraordinary young woman tested by a catastrophic event and its aftermath.

A Schenectady woman has reportedly succumbed to her injuries after being allegedly set on fire by her husband. Elizabeth Gonzales had been brought to the burn unit at Westchester Medical Center where she died.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Several structures in downtown Saratoga Springs were impacted by a fire in the early morning hours of Thanksgiving.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Firefighters were called to the  Daily Gazette's building on Maxon Road Extension in Schenectady early Sunday morning after fire alarms were activated at the building.

Police have confirmed the identity of a person killed in a house fire in Westfield.

It is spring, but green-up is not complete and until it is, leaf litter and duff scattered across lawns and forests are volatile kindling for fires.  WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley looks at the fire danger across the region, which has already seen massive burns in Sullivan and Berkshire Counties.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

Authorities say several people remain unaccounted for after fire gutted two five-story apartment buildings in Schenectady and left seven people injured, including a man who jumped from a top floor.

A fire blamed on an overloaded electrical circuit has claimed the life of a 77-year-old woman at a mobile home park in upstate New York.

12/30/14 Panel

Dec 30, 2014

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Associate Editor of the Times Union, Mike Spain, and political consultant Libby Post.

Topics include Afghanistan War ending, Steve Scalise of Louisiana Acknowledges Addressing Racist Group, and the ferry fire off the coast of Greece.