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North Adams Fire Leaves Many Homeless

Andy McKeever

A resident reported smelling smoke in the attic before smoke detectors went off, which gave firefighters enough time to prevent a fully involved fire.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — An early morning fire at 170-172 Bracewell Ave. left about 10 people homeless Wednesday despite being snuffed out quickly, according to the Fire Department.

Firefighters were able to prevent the blaze from expanding throughout the old wooden structure but the residents will be displaced until some minor renovations are completed, Fire Department Lt. John Paciorek said Wednesday afternoon.

"It was good that they were that fast. Another few minutes on a balloon-frame structure makes a big difference," Paciorek said on Wednesday. "It was a great stop on their part."

A resident on the second floor of the building that houses two apartments reported the smell of smoke from the attic at about 3:45 a.m. Upon arrival Lt. Joseph Beverly and the city's group C firefighters used thermal imaging to find a fire between the ceiling of the second floor and the attic, according to Paciorek.

All city firefighters were later called in and had to tear up attic floorboard and break windows to prevent the blaze from expanding. There were no injuries, he said.

"Everybody got out safely," Paciorek said. "Which is great considering the time of night."

The building is structurally sound but there is smoke and water damage that will have to be fixed before residents can move back in, he said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation but it does not appear to be suspicious, Paciorek said.

An air truck from the Adams Fire Department assisted on the call and an engine from the Clarksburg Fire Department covered the city's station. Firefighters were on scene for about four hours and then a fire watch unit stayed until about 10 a.m. looking for hotspots.

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