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Pittsfield Firefighters Snuff Back-to-Back House Fires

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
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Wahconah Street was blocked off from Charles Street to Peck's Road.
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A police officer talks with children at the Wahconah Street fire. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters quickly snuffed out two back-to-back minor fires on Wednesday night -- but they were serious enough displace a dozen people. 
 
The first was a dryer fire on South Onota Street that displaced two families, a total of eight people.
 
"It looked like it was just overheated," said Deputy Chief Tom Sammons. "Now again, that got out of the dryer and started a little bit of the surroundings on fire. ... So we pulled an inch and three-quarter line there, knock down the fire that was coming out of the dryer, removed the dryer from the structure. And that house was full of smoke."
 
Firefighters were back at the station with enough time "to eat a salad" when a call came in for excess smoke from a chimney at 252 Wahconah St. 
 
"Engine Five arrived on scene and noticed that there was a lot more smoke than smoke in a chimney," Sammons said. Two additional engines and a truck company and Sammons were called to the scene. "And once I saw the column of smoke, I requested a fourth engine. ...
 
"Once they saw that it was there was smoke on the edges of the windows, they switched tactics and went to an aggressive attack."
 
The fire was on the first floor in the rear one-story section of the building. There are three apartments total in the building but there was only one individual at home at the time, in the front apartment. 
 
"We got in and searched the entire building twice," he said. "We did find somebody in the front who didn't know that there was an emergency."
 
Sammons wasn't sure how many people lived in the building believed it to be at least three to five. The Red Cross was notified. 
 
The deputy chief said he was waiting for the building and electrical inspectors and Health Department to assess the structure. There is fire damage to the rear of the building  and smoke damage through out. The cause is not yet clear.
 
He complimented the efforts of the firefighters in knocking down both blazes very quickly. 
 
"They did an aggressive knock down and great job," he said. "They're safe. They're aggressive. And they take care of business."
 
No one was injured was in the fires but Sammons said both had something in common that was disturbing. 
 
"This is the second fire today and both houses we're at were missing smoke detectors," he said at the scene of the Wahconah fire. "That's a that's a big concern for us."
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