ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters knocked down an early morning structure fire Friday that destroyed a home; no one was injured.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Fire Chief Paul Goyette said later Friday afternoon that the cause was believed to be a faulty light switch.
"The point of origin was at the top of the stairs in the center of the building," said Goyette. "It was a malfunction of a light circut due to, mostly likely, the grounding of the circuit."
The electrical fire had been smoldering for some time before the department was alerted to the by-then fully involved structure fire at 18 Brown St. at 5:30 a.m.
The single-family home is owned by Robert Wadsworth, who was at work at the time.
The house to the east on the residential street had some buckling of its siding because of the heat but other than that no other structures were damaged. "Really, we were fortunate there was not a large wind," said Goyette. "We did get a break in the weather.
The Brown Street house in a total loss and will have to be torn down, he said. The owner has a place to stay for now.
According to Fire Chief Paul Goyette, the department received a call of a well-involved structure fire on Brown Street at about 5:30 a.m.
The homeowner was not home at the time, Goyette said, and no firefighters were injured during the following two hours of fighting the blaze in the frigid temperatures.
Goyette said the department found heavy smoke upon arriving on the scene and prepared to mount an interior attack but just before entering the front door, the roof ignited and firefighters switched to the defensive.
"We were at the front door ready to go but the roof self-ventilated and I'm not going to risk anybody's life for a house," Goyette said, and later added that "it had a good start on us. It was smoldering in the attic until it had enough oxygen to break out."
Police had already identified and contacted the owner, who appears to be the sole occupant and was at work. North Adams Fire Department assisted in laying a hose across Howland Avenue and police closed the main throughway for a brief period of time.
"We have limited water supply down here," Goyette said.
Goyette said there was a hydrant, which worked fine, and the cold weather had "no effect whatsoever" on the department's ability to effectively fight it.
By 8 a.m., firefighters were packing up supplies but some will remain on scene to look for hot spots. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.
Adams and North Adams ambulance services provided rehab service on the scene and the Cheshire Fire Department covered Adams' station.
Updated 4:50 p.m. with cause an further information from fire chief.
West Springfield Man Arrested in Adams Incident
By Stephen Dravis On: 03:20AM / Sunday November 11, 2012
Update Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012: The North Adams Transcript is reporting that James V. Bourdon was released on personal recognizance Tuesday after appearing in Northern Berkshire District Court. Bourdon reportedly had taped a note to his car saying it was rigged to explode. A carbon dioxide tank and jumper cables were also discovered in the car. A pretrial hearing was scheduled for Dec. 12.
Above, police remove a rifle from James V. Bourdon's car on Park Street. Left, Fire Chief Paul Goyette, left, and Police Chief Donald Poirot explained the situation to reporters Sunday afternoon.
ADAMS, Mass. — A West Springfield man is being held by Adams Police in connection with an incident that forced the closure of Park Street (Route 8) on Sunday morning.
James V. Bourdon, 59, of Highland Avenue in West Springfield has been charged with lewdness, open and gross indecent exposure and possession of an unsecured loaded weapon in his vehicle, which was parked in front of the Daily Grind.
Park Street was closed from 7:50 until 11:38 a.m. after officers responding to a report of a person acting suspiciously in a parked car "observed some things that aroused their suspicion," Adams Police Chief Donald Poirot said in a 1 p.m. news conference.
Eventually the State Police bomb squad was called to the scene and area residents were evacuated. But — without revealing what was found in the car — Poirot indicated that the situation was not as potentially disastrous as many may have feared.
"There were several things in the vehicle, but there was not anything that — at this time — indicates that it could have caused any major catastrophe to the community," Poroit said.
Both Poirot and Adams Fire Chief Paul Goyette said the road closure and evacuation were necessary precautions and steps they would take again in the same circumstances.
Police were first called at 6:58 Sunday morning with a report of a "suspicious person in a motor vehicle," Poirot said. Officers Thomas Cook and Joshua Baker responded to the report and arrested Bourdon.
Park Street was evacuated Sunday because of the threat.
Based on what they saw in the car, the police officers contacted the Adams Fire Department, and Goyette was called to the scene, Poirot said. Goyette called the state fire marshal's office.
The State Police bomb squad was brought in by helicopter. After the area was cleared just before noon, the bomb squad was recalled to the eastern end of the commonwealth, where it was scheduled to supply routine support during Sunday's home game for the New England Patriots, Goyette said.
Bourdon was in the Adams lockup on Sunday afternoon. He had not been arraigned, no bail was set and he did not have legal representation at the time of Sunday afternoon's news conference, Poirot said.
Poirot said Bourdon did not have a criminal record before Sunday. It is believed he was in Adams to visit family in the area.
The state fire marshal's office is conducting an investigation. Poirot said he and Goyette were not at liberty to discuss what was found in Bourdon's vehicle, other than to say there was a licensed but loaded and unsecured firearm that led to one of the charges against Bourdon.
"It was a case of erring on the side of caution for the community," Goyette said. "When the situation presented itself, there was enough of a thought in my mind for public safety, and we're always going to err on the side of public safety in this community.
"The people on Park Street were asked to evacuate, as Chief Poirot said, several businesses were closed down, and a [First Congregational] church service was canceled."
The Adams Visitors Center was opened for evacuees.
An armored officer examines the suspect vehicle.
Poirot and Goyette emphasized repeatedly in their 15-minute news conference that the steps they took in closing down and evacuating the heart of town were precautionary. Poroit praised the residents and business owners for their cooperation in clearing the scene while the vehicle was examined.
Poirot also dispelled a rumor that Bourdon had made statements to authorities indicating he had a bomb.
"When State Fire Marshal Mike Mazza arrived on the scene, and Chief Goyette and I debriefed him on the situation and what we were dealing with, he made the statement, 'Textbook,' " Poirot said. "That made me feel real proud of everything that was taking place and how it was handled and making sure nobody was injured."
This article is an update from a brief posted earlier Sunday that relayed unconfirmed reports of a bomb threat. The headline has been adjusted to indicate there was no threat made of using an explosive device.
Curran Highway Crash Reduces Traffic To One Lane
By Andy McKeever On: 04:51PM / Wednesday September 19, 2012
One person was transported to the hospital and another was treated at the scene. None of the injuries appeared to be serious, Police said.
ADAMS, Mass. — A two vehicle accident on Commercial Street sent one person to the hospital and closed Route 8 for 30 to 45 minutes on Tuesday afternoon.
A southbound Chevy 1/2 ton pickup truck collided with a Toyota Solara attempting to exit Elm Street across from Aladco just after 3 p.m. The car spun into the Aladco parking lot and both vehicles were towed from the scene.
One person was transported by ambulance to the hospital and another was treated at the scene. Police said the injuries did not appear to be serious.
The roadway was opened a few minutes after 4 p.m. No further information was immediately available.
ADAMS, Mass. — A pickup truck that tangled with a utility pole sent two people to the hospital early Tuesday evening.
A gray 2011 Dodge Dakota Big Horn with Connecticut plates collided with a pole along the northbound lane of Howland Avenue, just across from Ronnie's Cycle Shop, cracking the pole near its base and smashing in the truck's front end. Parts of the truck's front bumper were scattered 20 to 30 feet north of the impact.
The driver, Amitpal Kharbanda, 28, of Summer Street, and her passenger, Donald Harding, 29, were taken to North Adams Regional Hospital. Police said the truck was a rental.
The crash happened about 5:21 p.m. It was not clear why the truck had veered into the pole and there were no apparent skid marks. Police were on the scene taking measurements.
Fire Chief Paul Goyette said the driver and passenger were being transported by Adams Ambulance Service to hospital. He said the original report had indicated that the vehicle was a tractor-trailer truck but that was not the case.
National Grid had been informed of the broken pole and were en route, said Goyette. A new pole was already lying along the roadside so the electrical company may have already been planning to replace the broken pole.
Adams Fire, Police and Ambulance Service responded to the scene and cones were set up to detour traffic around the immediate area.
Both occupants of the vehicle were transported from the scene by about 6 p.m. and National Grid had not yet arrived.
At 11 p.m., National Grid was still working on replacing the pole.
The accident is still under investigation and no cause had yet been determined.
Updated with names, more detail, and minor rewrites at 11 p.m.