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Pittsfield Firefighters Fight 3-Alarm Blaze on Wahconah St.

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
The fire reportedly started in the kitchen and spread to the attic.

Updated on Feb. 26: The fire was under control but firefighters were still extinguishing hotspots shortly before 2 a.m. Wednesday.

Deputy Chief Mark Cancilla said five engines and one ladder were dispatched to the scene. A second ladder was responded with off-duty personnel and a ladder truck from Lenox was in the city.

There were no civilian injuries but one firefighter was taken to Berkshire Medical Center with a minor hand injury.

The building incurred heavy fire damage to the second-floor and attic, and water and smoke damage in the lower floors.

It was unclear how many people were left homeless by the blaze, which is still undetermined at this time.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters were battling a three-alarm blaze at an apartment house on Wahconah Street on Tuesday night.

The fire was called in at around 9 p.m. as a kitchen fire that was spreading to the attic at 150 Wahconah St.

"On arrival, the guys had a lot of smoke coming out of the attic eaves so they started setting up defensive operations," Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said at scene. "Unfortunately, they couldn't get their ladders too close to the building because of power lines in the way."   

Western Massachusetts Electric Co. had to be called to cut the power before the fire trucks could be positioned to attack the roof of the two-story residence.

Their response was further inhibited by an old metal room that was under the newer asphalt; they couldn't cut through the attic because of the metal.

"The fire appeared to be spreading through the two roof lines," Czerwinski said. "That's why it looks so bad right now."

At 10:30 p.m. he said crews were "busy chasing the fire through the attic area" and, once it settles down, firefighters would try to attack from the interior.

There is believed to be four units in the building but it was not clear how many people lived in the residence or which units were occupied. Czerwinski said it was assumed someone was in the building when the fire started because it was reported as a kitchen fire.

No one was reported injured but Wahconah Street is closed from the ballpark to the BP station. The fire chief expected the street to be closed most if not all night.

All on-duty crews were at the scene and other firefighters were called in. Mutual aid departments were covering the city, Czerwinski believe Lenox and Dalton, and Hinsdale's rehab unit was requested so firefighters could warm up in the frigid temperatures.

The Red Cross reported at least four people were affected by the fire, two adults and two children.

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