Adams Apartment House Destroyed in Blaze
ADAMS, Mass. — At least a half-dozen people have lost everything after a fire ravaged a three-apartment home on Old Columbia Street early Saturday morning.
Fire Chief Paul Goyette said some 45 firefighters from four towns battled the blaze for nearly five hours before it was finally extinguished.
"We probably flowed about 150,000 gallons of water," he said later Saturday morning as a backhoe tore down the blackened two-story structure. No was injured, but the tenants lost everything, Goyette said.
The fire was a reported at about 2:07 a.m. as a smell smoke of smoke in a bathroom. When Adams Police arrived at the scene, the flames were already coming from the windows on the first and second stories on the south side of the building. The wood-frame structure is tucked in slightly behind another home and a small outbuilding off Old Columbia, and near the end of Stevens Street, off Newark.
"The fire had a good hold of the building at that time," Goyette said. "We tried an interior tack, had a little bit of knockdown of the fire then it just became untenable. We pulled out and went all defensive."
North Adams, Cheshire and Clarksburg firefighters aided Adams; North Adams Ambulance Service provided its rehab trailer and Adams Police and Adams Ambulance Service also responded.
The state fire marshal's office had a representative at the scene earlier in the morning. Goyette said he was listing it as non-suspicious, but undetermined as to cause because of the amount of damage.
The American Red Cross had also responded to provide the six or seven occupants with aid. All of them had been out of the building by the time firefighters arrived, Goyette said.
Unfortunately, it appears several pets were killed in the fire.
The building contained 335, 337 and 339 Old Columbia St. addresses. The structure was lathe and plaster, probably balloon structure, and built about 1879. Town documents list the owner as Joseph Garceau.
"After the fire was out, it was deemed by the building inspector that the building was too unsafe and it had to come down," said Goyette.
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No Serious Injuries in Hoosac Valley Bus, Tractor-Trailer Accident
Adams McDonald's Closed Tuesday Night by Roof Fire
ADAMS, Mass. — A quick response prevented a roof fire at McDonald's from spreading.
A couple dozen volunteer firefighters from Adams and Cheshire responded to the report of a structure fire at the burger franchise at about 4:35 p.m. on a bitterly cold Tuesday.
"As I pulled up around the corner, I could see flames showing from the roof area ... underneath the McDonald's sign," said Fire Chief Paul Goyette.
While the cause is still uncertain, Goyette said, "we're leaning on the side of electrical."
Someone driving by reportedly called the McDonald's and told an employee that the building was on fire. The manager called 911 and accessed the roof with a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze. The manager was also able to isolate and shut off the electricity to the interior-lighted sign located across the roof of the building.
Firefighters were able to maneuver the ladder truck into position and went up on the roof to get the blaze, which appears to have been located under the "d's" on the sign and under one of the metal light covers that go up and over the parapet that angles up sharply from the roof line.
"The shingles were burned all the way down [under the cover]," Goyette said. "The heat source was the lighting unit but it was already burning on the roof structure."
Firefighters opened a small section of the roof with a chainsaw to ensure there was no extension of the fire underneath. The fire chief said that was a serious concern because the hollow parapet structure above the roof line would have allowed the fire to spread.
"We wanted to make sure there was no fire in the void," he said, adding that "once there's a fire, it just takes off so fast. It gets into that parapet void and it just takes off."
Goyette said he's seen reports of similarly styled restaurant structures that have been total losses after a fire has gotten into the hollow areas.
"This was an excellent save," he said. "The operation went very well."
The scene was cleared in about an hour. Cheshire Fire was called in for rapid response; local police took care of traffic, although no streets were closed, and Adams Ambulance was on standby at the scene.
The restaurant had been immediately evacuated and employees were sent home. The restaurant was closed for the evening but Goyette thought it possible it could open in the morning. The Board of Health inspector had already been on the scene and the building inspector had been alerted.
The company had an electrician coming to deal with the sign.
State Police Bomb Squad Deactivate Pressurized Bottles in Adams
ADAMS, Mass. — The state police bomb squad was called to Airport Road on Thursday morning to investigate a cluster of pressurized bottles containing an unknown liquid.
Police Chief Richard Tarsa said police responded to the scene around 7:30 a.m. after a truck ran over one of the plastic bottles causing it to burst, making a loud sound.
Tarsa said the bottles were scattered in the road and contained some sort of chemical that caused them to pressurize, similar to a bottle of soda.
"We had a bottle that was pressurized and a vehicle drove over it and it erupted, which sounded like an explosion but was just the eruption of the device," the chief said. "It was not an explosive device. This is not an IED by any means. It's a sealed water bottle with a chemical in it that creates pressure."
Although there was no damage to the car or driver, Tarsa said the road was closed and Fire Department and the state police bomb squad were called to investigate.
There were three other bottles on the road. One was defective but the other two were live.
"The bomb squad came out and they used the robotic arm," he said. "It grabs the bottle and the arm is designed to depressurize the bottle by putting a hole in it and making it inactive."
The first bottle was successfully depressurized, however, the second had built up enough pressure that when the arm touched it, it burst.
Tarsa said the police are unsure who set the bottles and the incident is under investigation. He added that whoever placed the bottles set up an incredibly dangerous situation for themselves and those passing through the area.
"This is a stupid thing to do because whoever made these devices there was the ability for the bottles to go off in their hands and with chemicals, you are looking at chemical burns," Tarsa said. "And being in a roadway that is a place where a lot of people walk their dogs ... what happens if a dog latches on to it?"
Tarsa said the bottles were somewhat isolated on the rural road and in the end, everything was handled according to protocol, and there were no damages or injuries.
Adams Woman Killed in One-Car Crash on Route 112
ASHFIELD, Mass. — A 67-year-old Adams woman was killed in a single-car crash on Monday afternoon on Route 112 in Ashfield.
State police, who are investigating the incident, said the victim's identity would not be immediately released on Monday night.
Late Tuesday the woman was identified as Theresa Mille.
The Daily Hampshire Gazette reported that the Toyota Corolla she was driving flipped over the guardrail on the northbound lane. The accident occurred between Sears Road and the Three Sisters Sanctuary.
The crash occurred at about 3:15 p.m. and caused the northbound lane to be closed for about an hour during the on-scene investigation.
Troopers assigned to the Shelburne Falls Barracks and the state police Collision Analysis Reconstruction Section, State Police Detective Unit and Crime Scene Services Section, along with Ashfield Fire Department, responded to calls of the car crash.
The woman died as a result of her injuries. Her male passenger was transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield for unknown injuries. His name also was not being released.
State Police said no further information was available at this time.