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North Adams Apartment Blaze Doused; West Main Closed

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Firefighters toss things out the window of a second-story apartment to get at the fire.
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters quickly knocked down fire in a storage area at a West Main Street apartment building on Thursday.

Fire Director Stephen Meranti said only one tenant was in the building and he was quickly evacuated.

Meranti said the Fire Department arrived at 75 West Main St around 2:30 p.m. after receiving a report of smoke coming out of a second-story window. It was initially described as a structure fire.

"The guys got on scene, and they saw smoke," he said. "We had smoke coming from the bedroom window on the second floor. ...

"The guys went in, found the tenant and escorted him out," he said. "He was OK. He was just trying to put the fire out with a portable extinguisher."

Meranti said a pre-connected hose was weaved through a room, a bedroom and into the storage room on the eastern side of the flat-iron building where the fire broke out. Firefighters tossed items out of the window to get to the fire.

"It was contained in that one room, and the stuff was not really that burned," he said. "We just had to get down to where it was burning."

Meranti said power had to be shut off to the apartment and to the one below it because water had to be used to extinguish the fire. He said an electrician will have to come in and inspect the apartments before the tenants can occupy them.

Meranti said all in all the fire was contained and knocked down quickly.

The guys did a good job," he said. "Early detection, quick response and aggressive interior attack. That is how you keep a small fire small."

He said the cause of the fire is still under investigation. The road was closed from the east end of the Memorial Bridge to Brown Street for more than an hour.

North Adams Police and Ambulance were on scene as well as the Wire and Alarm Division and Berkshire Gas. The building is owned by Charles Swabey.

Meranti added that at the same time, there was a one-car accident on Pattison Road that resulted in no injuries. All off-duty firefighters were called in to assist.

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