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North Adams Firefighters Respond to Stove Fire

Fire Chief Stephen Meranti photographs the controls of a stove that caught fire on Monday.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters responded to a stove fire at 133 Reed St. on Monday afternoon. 
 
The appliance was quickly removed from the house and the area ventilated. The A shift was initially called in to cover the station but the scene was cleared fairly quickly. 
 
The call came in at about 3:30 p.m. Two trucks, police and Northern Berkshire EMS responded to the scene. Reed Street is located near the top of Gallup Street. 
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North Adams Firefighters Douse Basement Garage Fire

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters on Thursday responded to the third fire in a month on the north side of the city.
 
The early evening fire at 66 Harris St. forced the occupants to flee and destroyed much of the basement garage and scorched the siding above the garage door. 
 
"The guys arrived on scene and saw the fire showing from the garage door," said Fire Chief Stephen Meranti. "They were able to access it very easily and contain it to the garage. ... We have smoke damage throughout the building but it's not major."
 
The garage incurred significant damage to the materials stored inside and to the wiring. 
 
"The Sheetrock — the envelope you build for the garage — kept it in the garage area," he said. "So the building code works in separating the garage from the rest of the house."
 
The blaze extended up the south side of the single-family cape, scorching and melting the siding but not affecting the structure. 
 
Meranti said it was not yet clear what had caused the fire and that the family would not be allowed back in that night. He said they had a place to go. 
 
The incoming shift was called in to assist and the top part of Harris at the North Street intersection was closed off to traffic. The fire had been contained and firefighters were sifting through scene by 7:30 p.m.
 
This was the third house fire so far this year. A major structure fire on Jan. 7 at an apartment building on Houghton Street across from North left four families homeless; on Feb. 1, an attempt to thaw pipes with a blowtorch caused a basement fire at 129 North St. late that night. The owner and his family was able to get out of the building but the Victorian is currently uninhabitable. 
 
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Dog-Walking Pedestrian Struck by Car on Main Street

Staff Reports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A man walking his two dogs across the top of Main Street was struck by a small sedan early Monday afternoon. 
 
Although the man was standing and talking with emergency medical technicians and police officers, he was eventually taken by Northern Berkshire EMS for treatment of a shoulder injury. The two dogs, medium-to-large animals, were taken to Greylock Animal Hospital by the animal control officer to be checked out. 
 
The pedestrian was apparently crossing where a crosswalk had been taken out years ago on the eastern side of the Main, Eagle and Ashland streets intersection.
 
"They were walking across the street and the car came around the corner making a left turn off of Eagle on to Main and hit the guy while he was walking," Sgt. Albert Zoito said. The pedestrian did not appear to be seriously injured he said. "A shoulder injury at this time that is all it looks like."
 
But, he said, one of the dogs appeared to be bleeding.
 
"The dogs are being checked out," he said. "I guess one of them was bleeding a little bit and might of got hit."
 
The operator of the vehicle gave information to the police and Zoito said charges are pending.
 
North Adams Fire Department also responded.
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Pickup Truck Collides With Trestle Foundation in North Adams

Staff Reports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A driver is facing charges after smashing head-on into the train trestle foundation on Church Street. 
 
The accident occurred at around 6:30 p.m. on Friday and initially was reported as happening on Ashland Street. 
 
The gray Dodge Dakota pickup was headed south on Church Street when it veered across the northbound lane to strike the corner of the massive stone block foundation. The truck incurred significant front-end damage. 
 
Police say speed appeared to be a factor and that the driver would be facing charges. The driver was treated at the scene by Northern Berkshire EMS but not transported. 
 
The southbound lane was kept open to allow the light traffic going both ways to get through. A tow truck had been called to the scene to remove the vehicle. 
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Firefighters Battle Large Apartment Fire in North Adams

Staff Reports

 
Updated Jan. 11 at 10:10 a.m.: Tuesday’s fire at 246-248 Houghton St. has been determined accidental, according to State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Fire Chief Stephen A. Meranti.
 
The fire started in the front bedroom in a top floor apartment (the building is on an incline with apartments on the ground, first and second floor). The cause will remain officially undetermined, as investigators cannot eliminate smoking or a space heater as the specific cause. The space heater itself was too badly damaged in the fire to determine if it malfunctioned. The building is considered a total loss.
 
Working smoke alarms first alerted the resident to the fire. He attempted to fight the fire himself, which delayed notification to the Fire Department. He suffered minor injuries. No other residents of the six-unit building were injured.
 
The fire was jointly investigated by the North Adams Fire and Police departments and state police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Dozens of firefighters battled a persistent fire on Tuesday at an apartment building on Houghton Street. 

 
City firefighters were joined by members of the Clarksburg Volunteer and Williamstown fire departments in trying to bring the blaze under control while the Adams Fire Department covered the station with preparations to step in if needed. 
 
It took more than two hours to contain the fire enough for firefighters to attack it from the inside. 
 
"It got a good jump start on us," said Fire Chief Stephen Meranti, pointing to the left side of the building. "This whole side was fully involved and on the third floor, we had fire blowing out all those windows and it extended to the front. ...
 
"The guys did an excellent job."
 
The fire chief said the blaze appears to have originated in the second-floor apartment on the left side of the building and extended up into the small, shared attic space, where its spread rapidly. 
 
Firefighters were just entering the building at close to 3:30 p.m. to address the hotspots and begin the investigation.
 
The call came in at 12:45 p.m. and an all-call was sent out to bring in all shifts to reinforce the five firefighters on duty, then the mutual aid call went out. Houghton Street was blocked from Bracewell Avenue north. 
 
The building at 246-248 Houghton St. sits at the corner of Houghton and Brooklyn streets. It has been owned, through a trust, by the late Charles R. Ransford since 1999.
 
The structure was known as the Owen Morris House and, according to the city's historical survey, was constructed in 1884, although the city's assessor gives it a date of 1870. It was originally used as a residence and grocery store and built by Morris, who worked at Arnold Print Works. It had four units and a public library branch was located there for about 40 years until closing in 1976. 
 
There are six apartments in the structure now. Meranti said four of the units were occupied at the time of the fire but everyone made it out. According to scanner reports, a family of three and a mother and child were awaiting aid from the Red Cross. 
 
A woman said she'd rushed over when a neighbor had pointed to the smoke pouring out of the building. She was worried about her cousins and their dog, but said they'd been able to flee the building. 
 
Northern Berkshire EMS was on the scene with its rehab trailer. General Manager John Meaney Jr. said there no injuries but several people had been treated for smoke inhalation and referred to the emergency satellite facility. 
 
The hillside structure is three stories on the front and two in the back. Heavy smoke poured into the sky above the building and flames poked through the roof in numerous spots. One firefighter who attempted to gain the second-story deck in the rear was pushed back when flames erupted along the back edge of the building. 
 
The firefighters used a drone operated by department photographer Nicholas Mantello to get a bird's-eye view of the building. 
 
"We could see where the fire was going through the roof, where the heaviest fire was, and direct our lines," Meranti said.
 
The amount of water being poured on the structure was also affecting households in the area. The city through a Code Red alert advised neighboring areas to Houghton that their water may be brown or low pressure. 
 
He said the main problem was access -- the fire was too heavy for an interior attack or to ventilate the roof and there were power lines on three side of the building, limiting the ladder truck to the Brooklyn Street side. 
 
"The problem was there was so much fire on this side, with the limited manpower that we have, we had to focus completely on this side and we couldn't prevent it from extending to the other side [of the building]," he said. "We really we like to get inside and get the fire from the inside but this one was just too big for us to handle."
 
It was 3 p.m. before firefighters could get into the building after flooding the roof and directing water into the interior windows. 
 
"We're going to continue pulling ceilings and trying to access the building, we're going to try to get the hotspots and we'll break everything down and investigate it," Meranti said. 
 
He considered the building a total loss and said a fire watch would be at the property through the night. 
 
Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont posted in a comment on our Facebook page that tenants of the building can go to the North Adams store on State Street for an emergency voucher to help with clothing, coats, blankets and other essentials. Desperados on Eagle Street is offering a special on wings Tuesday night with all proceeds going to help the building's occupants.
 

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