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Dalton Woman Injured After Being Trapped in Burning House

Staff Reports

DALTON, Mass. — A local woman was injured after being trapped on the second floor of a burning home early Sunday evening.

Firefighters were able to extricate her and she was taken to Berkshire Medical Center. Fire Chief Gerald J. Cahalan Jr. said she was transferred to another facility from there but did not know where.

Her condition was unknown, other than she was alive; her name has not been released.

Cahalan said he was first on the scene at 62 Jennings Ave. and attempted to enter the front door but was forced back by heavy flames in the stairwell.

"I was notified by a neighbor that there maybe somebody possibly trapped in the house," he said late Sunday night. A member of the family that owns the house tried to access the back door but Cahalan stopped him.

"I figured once you opened the back door you were going to get a flash," he said.

The two-alarm fire was reported at about 7:12 p.m. at the 2 1/2 story home. Cahalan said firefighters responded quickly and knocked down the fire but it flared up again about 20 minutes later.

Smoke and flames could be seen coming from the second story at that point. Firefighters were attacking the blaze with ladders and hoses.

They first focused on extinguishing the fire and the stairwell and search for the victim. She was taken through a second story window and placed in an ambulance. One firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation after the rescue.

The victim was the only one in the house at the time.

The second alarm automatically called in mutual aid from Hinsdale and Windsor, the chief said. Hinsdale brings its rehab trailer and Lanesborough was called in to cover the station; a third alarm brings in Pittsfield.

Cahalan said the cause of the fire is under investigation. State police and representatives from the state fire marshal's office were still at the scene at midnight.

Cahalan thought the single-family home was salvageable.

"The response was great, the crews did a great job," he said. "Obviously, the house is standing."

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