Firefighters Contain Blaze at North Adams Church
|The ladder truck from the Adams Fire Department is used to view the roof of the parish hall at All Saints Episcopal Church on Saturday.|
Update: The third floor of the parish hall will have to be gutted and restored; water damage also affected the second floor and down into the kitchen, requiring repairs of those areas.
Remediation work on the parish hall began on Monday.
The religious education classes and the nursery on the third floor will be moved into the church for the time being.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters contained a top-floor blaze at All Saints Episcopal Church early Saturday evening.
A box alarm in the building alerted emergency crews at 7:51 p.m. to the fire on the third floor of the attached parish hall.
"When the guys got on scene we had firing showing from the third-floor window," said Fire Director Stephen Meranti. "We immediately called for an all-call to get all firefighters and officers in."
The blaze was under control within a half-hour but it was a couple hours before firefighters began to wrap up the scene.
The cause of the fire has not been determined and the department was keeping a fire watch through the night.
Services and Meals on Wheels deliveries for Sunday have been canceled.
Meranti said Lt. Mike Goodson supervised the response as firefighters stretched the line to the third floor and found the fire in a room off the center hallway.
"The knocked down the fire fairly quickly and it was contained to that one room," he said.
Witnesses said they could see smoke and some flames coming from the parish hall on the west side of the roof. Meranti said there was concern the fire had gotten into the attic but the flames were actually coming out through the small third-floor window.
The Adams Fire Department was called for the use of its ladder truck, just in case. "It's a big building," said Meranti.
The ladder truck was extended to survey the roof of the parish hall. Five firetrucks in all, plus the city's wire and alarm division, police and North Adams Ambulance Service responded to the scene. Summer Street was closed from Ashland Street to the former Kmart parking lot.
No one was in the parish hall at the time of the fire but a meeting being held in the church's basement was cut short. Services had been held in the church a few hours earlier.
Members of the parish council said the third floor contained the nursery and educational classes, which had been renovated in recent years. The rooms had also been painted and new carpet laid down.
The second floor holds the church's library and programming space.
Meranti said there was "extensive damage to the third floor, we have water damage to the building and damage to the fire alarm system."
The church itself, the former St. John's, was not damaged but the building cannot operate without the alarms, said Meranti.
Members of the parish leadership were allowed in to assess the damage, their observations being that it was bad, "but it could be worse."