Mistaken Report Leads to Search of Hoosic River in North Adams
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Emergency responders spent about an hour searching the Hoosic River along State Road on Wednesday before determining that a report of two youngsters in the river was unfounded.
City and Williamstown police and firefighters, as well as North Adams Ambulance personnel, searched the riverside Wednesday beginning at about noon.
But the juveniles they were looking for turned out to be two people in a raft who were fishing.
"Through the investigation, NAPD located the two individuals that went in from the flood chute and they were in that location at that time," Fire Director Stephen Meranti said. "They confused [the caller] because they were bracing themselves against the wall."
Meranti said the call came in from the Greylock Club after a motorist said she saw the two people while driving into the city from the west.
"She could see the concrete flood chute behind them," he said. "We were sure that's where pretty much these guys went into the river."
Meranti said police officers eventually located the raft and the two people said they were in the area at the time.
Emergency service personnel walked the river bank and asked people along the bank if they saw anything. No one reported any sightings of children in the flood chute.
A command center was set up at Holy Family Terrace and the investigation lasted nearly an hour.
"You just have to make sure," Meranti said. "You have people in the area, and you have vehicles in the area with tracks going down to the river and no tracks coming out . … We just have to be thorough and it was a collaborative effort."
Sprinkler System Break Briefly Closes North Adams' Tractor Supply
Electrical Fire at North Adams Stop & Shop Forces Evacuation
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A malfunctioning refrigerated case forced the local Stop & Shop grocery to evacuate customers for more than an hour.
Firefighters responded to a call from the store shortly before 9 p.m., and minutes later called for all off-duty firefighters to stand by the station.
"They didn't know what type of fire it was and then en route, they got a second call that they had attempted to put the fire out with a fire extinguisher and they couldn't do it," said Fire Director Stephen Meranti. "When the guys got here they found a fire in the meat case in the back of the building."
But the fire was pretty much out by the time firefighters arrived after the store manager hit with an extinguisher. They did have to disconnect the electrical, which was still live, and vented the building.
"It was an electrical connection in the cooler so that malfunctioned and that caught some of the plastic shelving on fire," Meranti said. The small fire damaged and burned the back of the cooler.
The store was allowed to reopen before 10 p.m. after inspections by the building and health departments on the condition the contents in the cooler and near the damaged area were removed.
North Adams Apartment Fire Forces Out Five Families
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — At least 20 people were forced from their apartments on Wednesday afternoon after a fire broke out in the attic above one of the units.
The report of a fire in one of the rear units in the six-apartment building on Crossey Place came in before 3 p.m. The call came into dispatch from a resident in the apartment who said her walls were warm and "turning black."
"There was a report of the walls turning black and paint bubbling on the walls, said Fire Chief Stephen Meranti. "We did indeed find the wall turning black and the paint bubbling."
An all-call was put out to bring in off-duty firefighters; three engines including the ladder truck were at the scene along with police, North Adams Ambulance Service and Animal Control.
"When we came down the street, smoke was coming out of the eaves all along the whole building, so that's when I initially called for an all-call," said acting Lt. Stefan Lamarre, who arrived with D group. Meranti had already called for A group to get them rolling. "Luckily there wasn't much of a fire load up there so it didn't spread. It could have been a heck of a lot worse."
The attic bay on the long two-story building is open all the way through, which could have led to a much worse fire, Meranti said.
"It appears to be knob and tube wiring in the attic with insulation blown around it," he said, which did not allow for heat from the wires to dissipate, plus a cabinet was on top of that section of the attic floor. "It heated up in the joist space and extended through several bays and dropped down."
The key to containing the fire was the speed at which the first group got in, located it and got a line on it, Meranti said. "It was good work by the guys that initially hit this."
Police Sgt. James Burdick said one of the hydrants near the structure didn't work and would be addressed to the city but everything else went smoothly. No one was injured and River Street was blocked between Houghton and Brown.
"We had people on scene in less than a minute," he said.
Meranti said everyone works together as a team.
The occupants, numbering between 20 and 25, were quickly evacuated from the structure but found themselves standing in the snow in frigid temperatures. Porches Inn opened up its lobby to keep them warm until the Red Cross could arrive and situate them for the night. Building owner Michael Deep also arrived to speak with his tenants.
The damage appeared to be contained to the back two units, which suffered fire, smoke and water damage. The back units cannot be occupied until the electrical repairs and some structural work is completed. The rest of the apartments escaped damage but the power was shut off.
"They do have an electrician on site and he's going to try to get power so no one loses their Thanksgiving food that's in the freezers," Meranti said. "We're trying to get everything back on so they can get back in for Thanksgiving. That's our goal."