LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — A fire in a fryolator forced a brief evacuation of the Berkshire Mall on Friday morning and delayed its opening by 10 minutes.
The fire was contained to the McDonald's in the Food Court and is believed to have started in the fryolator's hood. The fire is under investigation and the fast-food purveyor is expected to be closed for at least a day or two during that time.
The fire occurred around 9 or 9:30 a.m.; the Food Court is open prior to many of the stores in the mall's interior. The mall itself opens at 10 a.m.
An hour or so after the fire was called in, two fire trucks were still parked at the entrance and the McDonald's and court area directly in front of it were cordoned off with yellow tape.
Heather Salerno, the mall's marketing director, said staff evacuated the building immediately and procedures set in place for emergencies "worked very well."
"Obviously there was a limited a staff at this time of the morning but they were able to get everyone cleared [from the building] very quickly," she said. "The Lanesborough Police and Lanesborough Fire Department did a fantastic job."
Store clerks, staff and customers were allowed back in at 10 minutes after 10, she said.
A house at 244 Vermont Route 8 was destroyed by an early morning fire. No one was home at the time.
READSBORO, Vt. — An early morning fire destroyed a unoccupied home along the sparsely settled Route 8 in Heartwellville on Wednesday.
The blaze was called in at 3 a.m. by a motorist who saw flames coming from the single-family home, said Fire Chief Carl Marchegiani. "[The firehouse] is four miles away but we could see the glow in the sky as we came over the flats."
By the time firefighters arrived, the house was fully involved. Whitingham and Stamford fire departments responded to the scene as well and tankers shuttled back and forth from a nearby water source as firefighters battled the blaze in the frigid temperatures.
The two-story home at 244 Vt. Route 8 is owned by Richard A. Larabee, who is currently residing in South Carolina, said Marchegiani. A family member was keeping an eye on the residence.
Smoke was still spilling from the house's smoldering remains early in Wednesday afternoon. Marchegiani said the fire is believed to have started somewhere under the eaves but its cause may never be known because the damage to the structure was so exentensive.
"I can't let anybody in there," he said. "It's too dangerous."
The fire burned so hot it distorted and collapsed the metal roof; ice coated the charred studs and the remains of a spring mattress hung from what was left of a second-floor joist. The stone chimney had buckled in the middle, giving it a curved appearance. Icicles dripped from an elderly Toyota Land Cruiser in the front yard.
Marchegiani said the house would have to be demolished soon. "It's too dangerous to leave it like this."
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — We want to give kudos to three of our colleagues over in the Raceway Media department for helping prevent a catastrophe on Sunday afternoon.
Rob Adams, Michael Alvarez and Danielle Trumbull were on their way back from Albany (N.Y.) Airport on Sunday after attending a motorsports trade show for our big sister RacingJunk.com when they saw smoke billowing from a house at 1950 Route 7 in New Brunswick, N.Y.
They pulled over and ran up to the house and banged on the door to alert the occupants and called 911.
"We just saw the smoke and stopped to help," said Alvarez. The woman in the home fled the building.
The fire was contained to the front porch but the highway was closed for a time as firefighters arrived at the scene. Alvarez said they felt bad for the homeowner who apparently had recently moved to the area and seemed surprised they'd stopped to help.
"We didn't do it for recognition or anything. It was just instinct," he said.