A stubborn wall fire made its way up the side of a Windom Terrace home on Thursday night.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A basement fire at a Windom Terrace home on Thursday burned up through the siding and into the roof before firefighters could finally douse the smoky blaze.
The fire was first reported as smoke coming from the basement shortly before 11:30 p.m. but a police officer who swung by immediately reported it as a structure fire.
The wraparound porch on the single-family home at 25 Windom was in flames and smoke was pouring from the basement. The owner, Joanne Derose, was able to exit the building; three cats were also taken safely from the structure.
"She heard the smoke detector going off in the basement, opened the door all the smoke and fire came up," said Fire Director Stephen Meranti. "Before we got here that porch was fully involved. you could see how it spread way over here.
"It got from the porch ceiling into the walls right up through outside wall and into the eaves ... there's really not that much fire."
More than a dozen firefighters attacked the blaze at several points on the exterior — pulling down the porch ceiling, yanking off the vinly siding and exterior sheathing, cutting a hole in the roof — as the intensity of the smoke moved up the west side of the building. The flames popped through roof at its peak.
"There's no structural damage, it's all exterior," Meranti said. "The worst part is water damage.
"We put down salvage covers over the furniture to try to protect them from damage, but unfortunately, you've got to open the walls to get to the fire."
Much of the fire damage is in the basement, which had "all kinds of combustible material."
The house cannot be occupied at the moment and Derose was going to spend the night with family.
North Adams Ambulance Service was at the scene and the Clarksburg responded with an air truck. A fire watch was set for the night.
Church Street was closed between Washington Avenue and Elmwood to allow hoses to be run up from Church Street.
The fire was contained by1:30. The cause is still under investigation.
Fire in the walls at Windom Terrace house #NorthAdamsMA Firefighters pulling off siding to get to blaze, heading toward the roof
Hayleigh Jacobs was last seen on Saturday at the Berkshire Mall.
***CANCEL: Cancel the Missing Person Report. Hayleigh has been located and is safe and sound. Thank you for your assistance and shares. CANCEL***
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police are seeking help in the search for a missing 16-year-old Pittsfield girl.
Hayleigh Jacobs was last seen on Saturday, May 16, at the Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough at about 9:45 a.m. with two men or boys, both of slim build and with short hair, and a woman or girl who stands about 5-foot-2 with long brown hair.
Jacobs is described as white, approximately 5-foot-5 tall and weighing 114 pounds. She has brown hair and green eyes and was last seen wearing multicolored leggings and a grey sweat shirt. She had attended Drury High School.
Anyone with information regarding Hayleigh Jacobs or her whereabouts is asked to contact Pittsfield Police at 413-448-9700.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Hungry black bears have been on the prowl in the area lately searching for food after their long winter's nap.
There's been a lot of news about the creatures and plenty of reports of them lingering in residential areas. But one impaired resident decided to chase one into the woods on Monday night prompting North Adams Police to post a humorous warning on the department's Facebook page:
**Chasing bears through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet is strongly not advised**
The North Adams Police Department is urging everyone to NOT chase bears through the woods with a dull hatchet, drunk. Yes that really did happen tonight. We understand there are bears in the area. If you see a bear, LEAVE IT ALONE and call us. We certainly don't need anyone going all Davy Crockett chasing it through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet. It is just a bad idea and not going to end well. It will however, certainly end you up in jail ... which it did. The hatchet man was taken into protective custody due to his incapacitation from the consumption of alcoholic beverage. We are still trying to figure out what his end game was. Any thoughts on what he was going to do if he did locate it? We would certainly like to hear because we have no idea.
A pole sheared off in an accident on Thursday morning caused a section of State Street to be closed down.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Southbound traffic over the Hadley Overpass and Street Street was disrupted for most of the day after a one-car accident sheared off a pole early Thursday morning.
According to the police log, a 1998 Toyota Corolla driven by an Adams woman collided with the utility pole at the corner of State Street and Christopher Columbus Avenue.
The crash occurred at about 7:30 a.m. and police, fire and North Adams Ambulance Service responded to the scene.
At least one person was taken to the hospital and the road was closed until National Grid could replace the pole. Northbound traffic was detoured up Walnut Street and over Furnace Street; southbound traffic was still being sent over Ashland or Church streets at 3:30 p.m.
Clarksburg Brush Fire Contained on Third Day
By Tammy Daniels On: 11:49PM / Friday May 01, 2015
The fire burns up The Dome on Friday in this image taken by Fire Director Stephen Meranti.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — More than 50 firefighters from around the region spent a third tough day finally containing a blaze that has burned an estimated 300 acres in the Clarksburg State Forest.
The brush fire had torched 189 acres on Thursday but crews had left the forest in the late afternoon believing it was contained and nearly out.
Clarksburg Fire Chief Kyle "Chip" Chesbro, who had coordinated efforts on Thursday, said the Department of Conservation and Recreation had planned on going in on Friday morning and ensuring it was extinguished.
"This morning at 6 o'clock I get another call that it has grown, that we needed to get people started up there," the soot-covered chief said on Friday after spending the day in the woods.
The fire had rekindled by early Thursday evening; numerous photos on Facebook showed a ring of smoldering orange high on the ridgeline.
Firefighters had to make their way up through rough terrain, including through Pine Cobble on the west end, to about a 2,000 foot elevation.
The hardest part has been accessibility, Chesbro said.
"If you can drive a fire truck in, a class a fire truck, you can put a lot of water out here. These brush trucks have water but the terrain up there is so bad, accessibility is just horrendous," he said. "When you get to the scene, working the scene, there's all brambles, and trees down and the incline and stuff like that you're trying to work on and the footing ... It's just not a good situation."
Indian Pump water packs were brought in by all-terrain vehicles and crews used shovels, chainsaws and leafblowers to clear the dry underbrush for digging breaks.
The fire began early Wednesday afternoon when a cook fire at the Sherman Brook primitive camping area went out of control. The campsite is nearly 2 miles in on the Appalachian Trail from Massachusetts Avenue.
The forest is in the far western end of Clarksburg, bounded by North Adams, Williamstown and Pownal. It's separated from Clarksburg State Park (Mauserts) by about 3 miles.
The blaze extended in a ring around the camping area and, on Thursday evening, "slopped over" the fire break that had been made to contain it. The secondary fire pushed westward up toward the top of The Dome, just north of Pine Cobble.
"They set it up with the left flank and a right flank with The Dome in the middle ... the heaviest fire was really on the right flank toward Clarksburg," North Adams Fire Director Stephen Meranti said. "They did a really good job of knocking it down.
"Again, it was really difficult to get to ... the access today was a little easier because they could get ATVs closer to the fire."
Meranti could only recall a fire of this size back in the 1970s, not far from the state forest.
Fire crews were planning on going in again on Saturday morning to check for hotspots and DCR will have people on site to monitor the area for the next few days.
No one was injured, though there some scrapes, bruises and blisters, and no homes or private property were ever in any danger.
On Thursday, a National Guard Black Hawk helicopter spent hours ferrying 500 gallons of water at a time from Mount Williams Reservoir to dump on the fire's perimeter.
A state police helicopter aided in aerial observations on Friday and several local pilots took Meranti to survey operations over the past few days.
The mobile command center was set up on Pattison Road to allow for clearer communications and staging was at the Blackinton Mill on Ashton Avenue.
DCR's Chief Fire Warden David Celino was at the command center along with other state and local fire officials.
About a dozen departments have been working the blaze, including Williamstown and Adams departments and forest wardens, Clarksburg, Dalton, Florida, Hinsdale, Lanesborough, New Ashford, Richmond, Windsor, and Pownal and Stamford, Vt., DCR forest wardens and the state forest fire control.
North Adams Fire Department provided backup coverage; other services were provided by the Berkshire County Fire Chiefs, North Adams Ambulance Service, Pittsfield Fire Department, National Guard, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the Northern Berkshire Emergency Planning Committee.
Meranti said the community has been very supportive, with people dropping off food and water.
"One guy stopped by and dropped off pizza," he said. "I don't even know who it was."
Both he and Chesbro stressed their appreciation of the volunteers and others who had put so much effort in over the past few days.
"The town of Clarksburg and the Clarksburg Fire Company would really want to thank all the departments who are working here, all the organizations, DCR , MEMA, everyobody involved," Chesbro said. "It's a lot, a lot of work.
"These guys are taking time out of their day, we really appreciated it."
Update 1:40 p.m., May 1, 2015
Fire crews are in the woods for the third day battling an extensive brush fire in the 3,000-acre Clarksburg State Forest.
At this time, the slow-moving fire has expanded but is not considered dangerous to homes in the area.
The fire had been considered contained on Thursday night but apparently fueled back late yesterday.
Update 8:45 p.m., April 30, 2015
North Adams Police reports the brush fire is contained but still smoking on the mountain.
Fire crews spent much of the day tamping hotspots taking measure to contain the outbreak that reportedly burned about 180 acres.
The fire began in the Sherman Brook area from a cooking fire and spread outward in a circular pattern.
Update: 11:33 a.m., April 30, 2015
Some 40 firefighters are in the Clarksburg State Forest battling a brush fire that began Wednesday afternoon. About 60 firefighters were on the scene on Thursday, with staging continuing at Ashley Swift & Sons on Massachusetts Avenue.
A National Guard helicopter has been scooping 500 gallons of water at a time from Mount Williams Reservoir and carrying over the fire deep within the mountainous state forest.
Clarksburg Fire Chief Kyle "Chip" Chesbro said the fire is 4,000 feet into the woods.
"It took our guys this morning an hour to hike into it," he said.
Fire crews are using Indian Pumps, a backpack form of water suppression equipment, and portable water tanks to draw from. They are also using shovels and chainsaws to create a break.
"We went from huge head fire front to a controllable front overnight," Chesbro said, adding the humidity, temperatures and morning dew had helped in containing the blaze.
The helicopter out of Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield was dropping about 2 tons of water each time it flew over, he said. It was expected to stay for about an hour before it had to head back to Westfield.
Agencies participating are Williamstown, Clarksburg, Stamford, Florida, Windsor, Dalton, Adams, Lanesborough, Pownal, North Adams and Forest Wardens, Department of State Fire Control, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, Berkshire County Fire and North Adams Ambulance.
Update 9 a.m., April 30, 2015: Twelve agencies are now working to extinguish the fire in the Clarksburg State Forest, according to a post by the Northern Berkshire Regional Emergency Planning Committee.
"All together, we have approximately 60 firefighters and command staff on scene consisting of Williamstown, Clarksburg, Stamford, Florida, Windsor, Dalton, Adams, Lanesboro, Pownal, North Adams Firefighters and Forest Wardens. Department of State Fire Control, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, Berkshire County Fire and North Adams Ambulance."
The fire had "settled" somewhat during the night because higher humidity and lower temperatures. "This is a contributing factor to why the decision is made to remove crews and not risk there safety during the night hours," according to REPC's Amalio Jusino.
Firefighters were using aerial observations to locate and evaluate the blaze.
Update at 9 p.m., April 29, 2015 (original post at 7:39 p.m.)
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A nearly 40-acre brush fire was burning beyond a ridge line in the Clarksburg State Forest on Wednesday night.
The glow could be seen from the south side of Route 2 in the city and smoke hung in the air.
Fire crews had been working the blaze since late in the afternoon but had to pull back as the light dimmed.
"Everybody is out of the woods as far as the fire departments," said James Howe of the Clarksburg Fire Department, the incident commander for the fire. "We're out for the night. We'll be meeting back here with other departments to go back in in the morning."
The fire was first reported before 2 p.m. by a hiker somewhere along the Appalachian Trail in the forest off Massachusetts Avenue. Initial reports described it as a cooking fire gone out of control. There was a burning smell throughout the downtown area.
Airport manager Bill Greenwall flew the fire director over the fire so they could get a better understanding of where it was.
"The hiker that reported it had hiked north to stay away from it so he was farther up the trail," Howe said. "He was found complaining about dehydration ... he was taken out through Williamstown, from the Pine Cobble Trail."
According to scanner reports, the rattled hiker was trying to come down from Pine Cobble but was told to head back that way to be taken out. About 4:30, he was described as being about a half-mile from Pine Cobble.
Firefighters from Clarksburg and Stamford, Vt., were in the woods earlier in the afternoon with firefighting gear and chainsaws; other units were being positioned. Clarksburg firefighters were taking the lead because the state forest is within Clarksburg.
Adams Forest Wardens, Williamstown Fire Department and Forest Wardens, North Adams Fire Department and forest wardens with the state Department of Conservation and Recreation were also mobilized. North Adams Ambulance was also at a staging area at Ashley Swift on Massachusetts Avenue. The North Adams Mobile Command was being used in tandem with the communications center at the ambulance station.
Howe had said earlier in the afternoon they were being careful about going into the forest and retrieving the hiker.
"We want to make sure we do things safely and that we do things right," he said about 6 p.m..
"We have firefighters searching for the fire right now ... We have crews from everyone I told you here."
The smoke could be seen billowing over the mountain ridge from Route 2, and appeared to be coming from a hollow. Reports put it near the Sherman Brook Campsite area, between one and two miles from the main road.
The fire was thought to cover about 40 acres in the 3,000-acre state forest. Almost 5 miles of the Appalachian Trail cuts through the forest on its way to Vermont.