Sheffield fatal fire investigated as a murder-suicide

Evidence suggests husband was the assailant

(Photo by Ed Harvey) Firefighters respond to a structure fire on Home Road in Sheffield Wednesday morning.

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington reported that investigators are treating the Sheffield fire as a five-person murder-suicide.

First responders recovered the bodies of two adults and three children at 1343 Home Road, Wednesday morning. The deceased individuals have been identified as Luke Karpinski, and his wife, Justine Wilbur, both 41, and their 3-year-old and 7-year-old twins.

“At this time, the evidence indicates that Luke Karpinski was the assailant,” Harrington told reporters at a press conference held inside the District Attorney’s office.

“Members of the state police assigned to the office of the State Fire Marshal and detectives from the state police detective unit assigned to the Berkshire County District Attorney’s Office are still combing through the scene and searching for evidence. The scene is secure and there is no reason to believe that the public is endangered at this time.”

Karpinski, Harrington noted, was a patent attorney.

The family’s bodies were transported to the office of the chief medical examiner in Boston to perform autopsies. Causes of death have not been determined.

Firefighters were called to 1343 Home Road at approximately 8 a.m. Wednesday for a structure fire. After performing an initial search of the house, firefighters recovered the body of Wilbur, said Harrington. The other four deceased individuals were found later.

In addition to Sheffield and Great Barrington fire departments, crews from Monterey, Egremont, Richmond and New Marlborough, as well as Canann and Norfolk, Connecticut responded Wednesday. Also responding were Sheffield and Great Barrington police, Massachusetts State Police Crime Scene Services Section, forensic scientists attached to the state police crime laboratory and state police collision analysis and reconstruction section.

“This is a comprehensive and ongoing investigation, and at this point, information will be limited,” said Harrington. “We offer our sincere condolences to the Wilbur and Karpinski families.”

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