Fire destroys Beverly Farms mansion owned by former Republican leader

Staff reports

A Beverly Farms mansion owned by the former chairman of the Republican State Committee was destroyed by fire in a Thursday night inferno.

The fire at Darrell Crate’s home at 890 Hale St. was reported just before 9 p.m. and went to three alarms. Firefighters from at least eight surrounding communities were helping Beverly firefighters at the scene. No one was injured. Firefighters worked to get water from hydrants to the fire, which was at the end of a long, uphill driveway.

A radio transmission from a fire commander on scene said: "We have a very large structure fully involved."

The cause of the fire was unknown and the state Fire Marshal was called in.

WCVB-TV reported that the house was being remodeled. Crate had recently applied for a city permit for management of invasive species as well as to add plantings and construct trails and a fieldstone bridge on his property, according to an Conservation Commission agenda for its meeting next week.

Crate, who served as chairman of the Republican State Committee from 2003 to 2007, is chief financial officer at Affiliated Managers Group, a money management firm whose headquarters are only about a mile down Hale Street in Prides Crossing.

The 15 room, 10,000 square foot home is set back from the street and the flames were visible from the street. The roof collapsed as fire engulfed the home. The home is on 7 acres and assessed by the city, for tax purposes, at $3.1 million.

The streets around Hale and West streets, near Lee’s Crossing, were blocked off at midnight and many firefighters and police officers remained on the scene.

To hear audio of emergency transmission during the fire, go to: www.scanmerrimackvalley.info/files/Beverly-3rd-082108.mp3

Beverly Citizen