Kitchen Fire Forces 18 to Evacuate North Adams Building
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — An early morning fire forced the evacuation of about 18 people from a boarding house on Union Street.
The fire started in a back common kitchen on the top floor about 2 a.m. and spread up through a vent. It took almost two hours to ensure it was it completely out.
Fire Chief Stephen Meranti said the department was familiar with the building and has responded to burnt food in the past.
"This time it extend up into the exhaust fan got up into the area above the ceiling, it followed the ductwork," he said. "It was burning on top of the stove — that set the sprinklers off — but it was also burning above the ceiling."
Some occupants of the building at 174-178 Union St. were coming out as firefighters were going in and they assisted the rest in exiting the building. More than a dozen people, some wrapped in blankets passed out by Northern Berkshire EMS, watched firefighters tackled the stubborn blaze.
Smoke was coming out of the top of the 1910 three-story building when first-responders arrived on the scene. It billowed out of the open porch in the back connecting the structure to 8 Rand St. and out the front eaves.
An all call was sent out to bring in all three shifts. Northern Berkshire EMS and Wire & Alarm also responded along with Berkshire Gas and National Grid.
"The guys did a great job knocking it down in real, real smoky conditions," Meranti said. "The did a really good job."
The structure suffered significant smoke and water damage as well as some structural damage. Meranti thought the entire upper floor would have to be gutted.
"Right now we're trying to save the utilities because that building in the back is fed from this building in the front," he said. "The owner has contractors here for gas and electricity. They're trying to salvage the utilities over here to keep that building (8 Rand) up and running."
The electrical and sprinkler lines run through both buildings so have to be capped or shunted so the Rand Street building would not have to be closed. It also has about 20 rooms with common areas.
Those who had to evacuate were taken by Northern Berkshire Transport to First Baptist Church where the Rev. David Anderson was working to get them a place stay for the night.
Both buildings are owned by Union Rand Nominee Trust, part of the Ransford Properties portfolio.
The structure is also the home of the popular Linda's Cafe, which had closed earlier in the week because of the emergency orders related to the novel coronavirus..
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Dalton Woman Charged With Hit-and-Run in Great Barrington
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — A Dalton woman was charged with motor vehicle offenses after striking a person walking on the side of the road on Vandeusenville Road on Tuesday morning and leaving the scene, according to Great Barrington Police.
Police received a report at 10:45 a.m. that a woman on the side of the road by Bridget's Cemetery that had been struck by a car. Officers Jonathan Finnerty and Samuel Stolzar responded.
They found a 64-year-old woman from Christian Hill Road badly injured. She was transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield by Southern Berkshire Ambulance. Great Barrington Fire Department assisted at the scene. Several car parts were also recovered there.
A short time later, Finnerty observed a vehicle matching the description of the wanted car at the Lipton Mart on Stockbridge Road. After an investigation, the driver admitted to striking something but thought it was the guardrail.
Jamie L. Cartwrightjoyner, 36, has been charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident; negligent operation of a motor vehicle; and failure to stay within marked lanes. She will be summonsed to court.
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North Adams First Responders Extricate Injured Girl From Ravine
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — First responders rescued a teenager who fell and apparently broke her ankle or leg in the ravine behind Brayton Hill Apartments.
The initial call came in shortly after 4 p.m. on Wednesday of a girl who had fallen on the slope behind the apartment complex and could not be reached. The police, firefighters and ambulance personnel responded to the scene and shift Delta was called in to cover the fire station while two trucks were out.
Fire Lt. Michael Sherman said there were muddy and wet conditions on the banking down toward the river. Because of the conditions, the first-responders used a litter basket and line to reach the girl and bring her up the banking.
She had reportedly been about 50 yards down the hill and near the Hoosic River.
Sherman could only confirm an injury to her leg but that she was alert and responsive; scanner reports indicated a possible break or fracture.
She was taken by Northern Berkshire EMS to the satellite emergency facility for treatment.
Sherman said the Fire Department trains regularly on these kinds of rescue extractions and that the rescue litter was the safest way for the girl and for the first responders.
"Our mule that we've used multiple times does a phenomenal job and we were able to bring her up safely from below," he said, adding that some of them firefighters are trained in technical rescue. "This falls right into our training. So it just works out well. It's nice when you can actually use something that you're trained for."
The lieutenant complimented the teamwork of the firefighters and other first responders who assisted in the rescue.
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Pittsfield Firefighters Save Dog That Fell Through Ice
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Two Pittsfield firefighters on Wednesday rescued a dog that fell through the ice on a pond off Gale Avenue.
Craig Eggleston and Jeremy Ostrander donned ice water rescue suits to successfully retrieve the dog. A video posted by Police Officer Darren Derby show them crawling out onto the small pond that had large patches of water.
The small dog's head was above the water and his front paws on the ice, trying to climb up. One of the firefighters was able to pick up the dog, bring it to shore and hand the pup off to his owners.
The call came in about 8:15 a.m. to the Police Department of a dog stuck in the pond near 538 Gale Ave.
Deputy Fire Chief Daniel Garner later on Wednesday said Engine Co. 1 was dispatched around 8:30 to the wooded area at the end of Gale Avenue where a medium-size pointer/terrier-type dog had fallen through the ice of a marshy pond.
"It was chasing water fowl when it became trapped," he said.
He said police at the scene had led the firefighters to the area where they suited up and quickly rescued the dog.
"Our crews donned ice rescue suits and once on the ice it took about two minutes to get the animal to shore," he said.
The animal had been in the water at least 20 minutes.
"Firefighters successfully retrieved the dog from the icy water and returned him to his much relieved owners," stated a Facebook post by Pittsfield Fire Department I.A.F.F 2647.
The Fire Department report states the dog "is expected to make a full recovery" and Garner added that the dog was "doing well."
Editor's note: Comments by Deputy Chief Garner added to story, day changed to the correct one.
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Fire Destroys North Street Home in North Adams
Fire Chief Stephen Meranti said the call came in at 5:12 a.m. for a possible structure fire, which was confirmed by police reaching the scene. Northern Berkshire EMS personnel said they had headed up from the department's headquarters on Harris Street on hearing the call and found the structure fully involved with flames coming through the roof.
It was believed that all occupants had gotten out or were not in the building when the fire consumed the top floor and attic. Meranti said one occupant, who apparently was able to flee safely with her dog, was confirmed safe. There was only one other possible resident authorities were aware of.
"It started on the upper levels and it was through the roof when we got here," Meranti said. "We did a quick search of the lower level and started a defensive operation, then moved to an interior operation."
The fire was an all-call with all equipment and firefighters at the scene. Clarksburg Volunteer Fire Department sent its airpack truck and the Department of Public Works sent a truck to sand the steep street to prevent ice buildup as firefighters attacked the blaze with hoses.
By 6:20, the fire was largely out but firefighters were still using hoses and axes on what was left of the second floor and attic to put out smaller fires.
"The roof fell in and kind of buries everything so we have to pull through all of it to find the hot spots," the chief said.
Smoke was still rising from the blackened top floor and the roof was completely gone.
Meranti said the cause was unknown at this point but the fire marshal had been called in to help with the investigation.
"It got into the attic very quickly if it didn't start there," he said. "Before the occupant even knew it, it was well involved."
The city's Wire & Alarm had also responded to the scene and National Grid and Berkshire Gas arrived to disconnect the utilities. North Street was blocked off between Williams and Cady streets. The Fire Department cleared the scene at about 9 a.m. but Truck 5 stayed on scene for fire watch.
The house sits at 66-68 Cady St. on a rise on the north corner of the intersection with North. The 10-room, 1870 structure is owned by Edward M. Rich, according to documents on file with the assessor's office.
The fire made dramatic early morning dawn for residents on North Street. Nicholas Mantello, the Fire Department's official photographer, said he could see the glow from his home about a block away. City Councilor Keith Bona, who lives a few doors down on North Street, posted about 5:30 a.m. showing flames bursting from the roof and second-floor windows.
Firefighters dealt with temperatures in the upper teens battling the blaze.
"The guys did a great job. We had to contend with icing on the roadway but the DPW is here to put some sand down, and Northern Berkshire EMS is on scene providing rehab for the firefighters," the chief said. "We had a good team working tonight."
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