PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A residential unit in Salisbury Estates was heavily damaged by a two-alarm fire on Tuesday morning.
Deputy Chief Michael Polidoro said the roof blaze, which could be clearly seen from nearby streets, was called in 10:34 a.m. by a neighbor reporting smoke from the unit at 8 Baver Drive.
"On arrival, we had heavy smoke pushing out of the eaves of the building, from both ends of the gable," said Polidoro. "In the crawlspace above, we found heavy fire."
The deputy chief called in a double alarm because the potential for the fire to spread rapidly through the attic crawlspace that connects the units.
"We kept it contained to that particular unit ... It's all wide open up there so it could have traveled the whole length," he said. "I needed the manpower and the equipment here to do that."
Firefighters on the scene searched the home to ensure it was vacant; Polidoro believed that only one person lived in the residence and that he or she had left earlier in the morning.
He roughly estimated the fire damage at $150,000 but could not say if the structure would have to be completely razed.
"There is heavy structural damage to the roof, it has a trussed roof which makes it more susceptible to fire ... they collapse a lot quicker and it makes it very dangerous," said Polidoro.
Because of the roof damage, a upper wall was being removed to allow firefighters access to the building. "It's too dangerous to work underneath it because of the fire damage," he said. "It presented a collapse issue so it's easier to take the wall off."
At least three other units sustained smoke damage. The building and wire inspectors, as well as the department's fire investigation unit were at the scene.
Polidoro said there was no indication the blaze was suspicious, but "when no one is home [when a fire starts] we like to do a thorough investigation to determine cause."
One firefighter incurred minor injuries in what the deputy chief described as "slips, trips and falls" that happen in these situations.
Salisbury Estates is a retirement community offering independent and assisted living for adults age 55 and older, operated as a subsidiary of Berkshire Health Systems with Kimball Farms.
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