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Early Morning Fire Destroys Adams Home

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

No one was home when the fire broke out.

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.

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