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Pittsfield Home on Highland Avenue Destroyed By Fire

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
image description
The fire climbed up the exterior of the home and into the second floor window.

Lanesborough resident Brian Johnson happened to be driving in the area when the fire began. He shared his photos of the blaze with iBerkshires.com. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Fire destroyed a city couple's Highland Avenue home Friday afternoon.
 
Deputy Chief Andrew Stephenson said a passerby noticed the outside of the home on fire at about 3:30 and called 911. Upon arrival, firefighters found the exterior on fire.
 
"The exterior of the house, the left side, was pretty heavily involved in fire. It was obvious the fire started on the outside of the house. While crews were here, it burned into the second floor through the window. It burned up the wall, through the window, burned up to the roofline, and got up into the attic," Stephenson said.
 
Stephenson said it isn't known exactly what caused the fire but investigators have pinpointed the origin and are narrowing in on a cause. The owner was working in a woodshop in the rear of the property at the time and the house was out of his view when the fire started.
 
Neither occupant was injured in the blaze and firefighters were able to rescue two cats. However, a third cat perished in the fire. 
 
Stephenson said the homeowners declined assistance from the Red Cross and will find alternative housing on their own. He said the home suffered heavy damage and is likely considered beyond repair.
 
The department first responded with three engine companies, a ladder truck, and a deputy chief but quickly called for two more engine companies. 
 
"It was just a hot, humid day so it is hard for the crews to work. You always have to worry about heat exposure so that's why the on-duty deputy called Hinsdale rehab trailer. They come with water, a bus with air conditioning," Stephenson said.
 

The two-alarm fire was called in around 3:30 in the afternoon.
The deputy chief said the fire had burned to a point where there was little they could do to halt the damage. But he credited firefighters for their efforts in stopping the blaze quickly after arriving.
 
"They did an outstanding job. They encountered an involved full side of the house. The damage was done pretty much prior to the Fire Department getting here but they did a great job knocking it down and putting the rest of the fire out. It is pretty tough in the hot conditions," Stephenson said.
 
Hinsdale and Lanesborough both arrived on scene for assistance and Lenox, Dalton, and another crew from Lanesborough covered city stations. 
 
At the same time as firefighters worked on Highland Avenue, Stephenson said another fire call came in. At that scene, a mattress had caught on fire and an off-duty firefighter who lived in the neighborhood was able to drag it out of the home, preventing a structure fire there.
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