Friday, July 25, 2014 02:16pm
North Adams, MA now: 75 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
SIGN IN | REGISTER NOW   

Home About Archives RSS Feed
North Adams Apartment Fire Displaces 20 People
By Tammy Daniels On: 01:31PM / Thursday April 10, 2014
Important
7
Interesting
3
Funny
0
Awesome
1
Infuriating
4
Ridiculous
2

Amanda Beckwith is reunited with one of her cats. Beckwith lives in the apartment below where the fire broke out. More photos can be seen here.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — About 20 people were temporarily homeless after a fire broke out early Thursday afternoon on the fourth floor of a Furnace Street apartment building.

Damage was limited to one side the eight-unit building at 132-146 Furnace St.; no was injured.

Fire Chief Stephen Meranti said it was possible the tenants in the four units on the south side of the building could return home by the end of the day, depending on the health inspector's approval.

"It's under investigation right now with the North Adams Police and Fire Departments," he said. The fire marshal's office had not been called so far. "It doesn't appear to be suspicious. We're going to do our thing and then if we need to call them, we will."

The building has a commanding view of the city's downtown and smoke could be seen from Main Street pouring from the top of building.

"Leaving the station, we could see the smoke, we called for all off-duty firefighters," said Meranti. "We got on the scene found fire on the rear porch in the roof area. ... It had extended into the attic space."

At about noon, neighbors noticed smoke and flames on the decking on the eastern side of the building. All of the occupants home at the time escaped unharmed.

"I heard crackling and then I smelled something a minute or two later ...  it was a plasticy kind of burning smell," said Amanda Beckwith, who lives in the apartment directly below where the fire started. "Then I looked out the window and saw fire [in the decking above] ... we ran out."

Beckwith, a photographer, ran back in to grab her camera. By the time she realized the seriousness of the situation, the fire trucks had arrived and she was unable to get back in to rescue her cats. By mid-afternoon, two of her pets had been removed unharmed but a three more were still inside.

Animal Control Officer Carrie Loholdt was on the scene to assist with pet recovery.

Fire trucks maneuvered the steep street to get in front of the structure and a ladder truck was used to reach and break through the roof to combat the blaze.

"We had to make sure we kept the front of the building open so we could move the ladder truck in here," Meranti said, explaining some of the difficulties in accessing the building, which is three stories on Furnace but four stories and a steep lawn facing Francis Street below.

"It's very labor intensive to fight a fire in a building like this. The guys took a real beating on this one," he said. "They did a great job getting here quickly the way they did and getting the water on it.  We prevented it from extending to the other apartments."

The Furnace and Francis streets were closed down as firefighters from the city, Adams and Clarksburg brought it under control it. North Adams Ambulance Service was on scene to provide recovery services for firefighters and Williamstown Fire Department was covering the station.

Neighbors and occupants of the building watched from Francis Street as burning shingles fell to the lawn and water poured down.

"The heat and the fire are trapped in the attic, so it's building, accelerating in the attic," said Meranti. "By opening the hole in the roof, you're directing the fire to where you want it to go.    

"So it's not extending horizontally, it's extending the fire vertically so we can get in there and get it from underneath."
 
Meranti said firefighters were successful in doing that, which prevented the blaze from reaching the apartments on the south side. The fire damage was contained to the top apartment in the northeast corner; the apartments below it suffered smoke and water damage.

The gas and electric were shut off but the owner's electrician was going to see if the power could be restored to separate units.

Nichole Bushey, who lives in the apartment where the fire started with her boyfriend, George Sawtelle, said she lost everything. Both she and Sawtelle were at work when the fire started; a friend and neighbor called to tell them what had happened.

Bushey said she'd lived in the building for about a year, but it was the second time a fire had left her homeless. She'd been living in the apartment building on Washington Avenue when it burned down around 2006.

The building's owner Charles Swabey, who owns multiple properties in the city, was confident the building was salvageable: "It's going to be around for a long time."

He said he loved the architecture of the house, which is notable for the number of wrap-around porches and balconies.  

"I bought it in 2003, it was one of the first ones we bought," he said.

Seven of the eight units were occupied and about 20 people were living in the structure. The Red Cross had been contacted.

Update: complete rewrite with comments from fire chief at 4:30 p.m.

 



0 Comments
     
News Headlines
Adams Library Exhibiting Massive Civil War-Era Flag
iBerkshire Tag Sales: July 25-26
Tanglewood to Unveil Leonard Bernstein Sculpture
Governor Honorary Chair of Hancock Shaker Fundraiser
MCLA Receives STEM Scholarship
Next DownStreet Art Set for July 31
Emergency Drill Planned in North Adams July 29
Sohn Fine Art Expanding to Lenox Location
Elder Services Moving to Another Pittsfield Location
Cultural Pittsfield This Week: July 25-31
Crimewatch Links

North Adams CrimeWatch

Stamford/Clarksburg CrimeWatch

Pittsfield CrimeWatch

Emergency: 911
Adams 413-743-1212
Clarksburg 413-663-7795
Cheshire 413-743-1501
Dalton 413-684-0300
Great Barrington 413-528-0306
Lanesborough 413-443-4107
Lee 413-243-2100
Lenox 413-637-2346
North Adams 413-664-4944
Pittsfield 413-448-9700
Richmond 413-698-3315
Stockbridge 413-298-4179
West Stockbridge 413-232-7938
State Police  
Cheshire Barracks
413-743-4700
Lee Barracks 413-243-0600
Shaftsbury, Vt., Barracks 802-442-3263

 



Categories:
Adams (31)
Alford (0)
Becket (6)
Cheshire (9)
Clarksburg (27)
Dalton (4)
Egremont (0)
Florida (4)
Great Barrington (9)
Hancock (4)
Hinsdale (2)
Lanesborough (11)
Lee (10)
Lenox (9)
Monterey (0)
Mount Washington (0)
New Ashford (3)
New Marlborough (1)
North Adams (122)
Otis (2)
Peru (1)
Pittsfield (129)
Pownal (9)
Readsboro (9)
Richmond (8)
Sandisfield (2)
Savoy (4)
Sheffield (1)
Stamford (25)
State (1)
Stockbridge (4)
Tyringham (1)
Washington (1)
West Stockbridge (1)
Williamstown (46)
Windsor (1)
Archives:
July 2014 (11)
June 2014 (16)
May 2014 (15)
April 2014 (10)
March 2014 (12)
February 2014 (11)
January 2014 (22)
December 2013 (3)
Tags:
Veremko Fraud Dui Armed Robbery Fire Break-ins Drug Charges Larceny Motor Vehicle Missing Persons Cocaine Injuries Crime Watch Structure Fire Robbery Assault Crash Mvi Murder Oxycodone Accident Search Vehicle Stabbing Shooting Structure Arrest Rape Motor Vehicle Accident Police Homicide Fatal Buglaries Fatal Drugs
Popular Entries:
Great Barrington Crashes Leave Two Dead
North Adams Woman Killed in Route 2 Crash
North Adams Man Crashes SUV Into Home
Kincaid Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Rape
North Adams Man Arraigned on Child Porn Charges
Man Killed by Bull in Clarksburg
Cariddi Auto Sales Burns
Donations Reach State Road Fire Victims
Pittsfield Police Identify Parking Garage Death
Mayor's Wife Arrested for Shoplifting
Recent Entries:
Pittsfield Police Log: July 23 - July 25
Pittsfield Police Log: July 19 - July 21
Pittsfield: Property Crimes High; Violent Crime Down
Superior Court Briefs: July 14 - July 15
Pittsfield Police Log: July 15 - July 18
Superior Court Briefs: June 30 - July 10
Pittsfield Police Log: July 9 - July 14
Truck Fire Closes Pittsfield's West Housatonic Street
Pittsfield Police Log: July 6 - July 7
Pittsfield Police Log: July 2 - July 3


View All
Lanesborough Fire Drill
The Lanesborough Fire Department trains on basement fires...
Pittsfield Polish Picnic
Crowds lined up for golabki and kapusta at the annual...
North Adams Kids Emergency...
The North Adams 21st Century Community Learning Center...
Gather-in Festival 2014
The 42nd annual Gather-In festival was held at Pitt Park in...
BFAIR Mini-Golf Fundraiser
Berkshire Family and Individual Resources held its annual...
Lanesborough Seeds of Harmony...
Bradly Farm in...
Hinsdale Block Party
The Hinsdale Fire Department hosted its annual block party...
Arrowhead Country Craft Fair
Arrowhead, Herman Melville's home in Pittsfield, is hosting...
Pittsfield 3rd Thursday July...
Shakespeare was the theme for this month's 3rd Thursday...
State Little League:...
Pittsfield South defeats Holden, 3-2, in the state...
Live On The Lake Concert
Greylock Band played at Burbank Park on Onota Lake in...
Summer Softball: Force vs....
Berkshire Force beat the Adams Thunder 27-7 at Russell...
Little League: Pittsfield N...
Saturday semi-final between Pittsfield North and Pittsfield...
The Pittsfield Suns
The Pittsfield Suns defeated the Seascoast Mavericks...
Babe Ruth Tourney: Pittsfield...
Pittsield scored nine runs in the first inning and beat...
BYP Networking at Ramblewild
The Berkshire Young Professionals were up in the air on...
Lanesborough Fire Drill
The Lanesborough Fire Department trains on basement fires...
Pittsfield Polish Picnic
Crowds lined up for golabki and kapusta at the annual...
North Adams Kids Emergency...
The North Adams 21st Century Community Learning Center...
Gather-in Festival 2014
The 42nd annual Gather-In festival was held at Pitt Park in...
BFAIR Mini-Golf Fundraiser
Berkshire Family and Individual Resources held its annual...
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us | Privacy Policy| User Agreement
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2000 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved