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Firefighters check through the scene of a fire on Hoxsey Street on Wednesday afternoon.
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Williamstown Firefighters Extinguish Third Blaze in Two Days

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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Firefighters had to deal with three blazes in 24 hours. 
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — No one was injured in a three-alarm fire on Hoxsey Street on Wednesday afternoon, the third fire in town in two days.
Firefighters from Williamstown, North Adams and Pownal, Vt., extinguished the blaze at the three-bedroom residence at 23 Hoxsey St. in about 30 to 45 minutes, Fire Chief Craig Pedercini said. The Clarksburg Volunteer Fire Department responded to provide coverage at the Williamstown station.
No one was home at the time of the Wednesday afternoon fire. The three tenants, students at Williams College, left for break earlier in the week, according to the building's owner, Paul Rinehart, who was on scene to watch the cleanup.
Pedercini credited workers from the Williams College Science Center project across the street with helping to get the fire under control.
"It was called in, as it turns out, by a couple of construction workers who happened to see the fire," he said. 
"Once we got on site, actually, a couple of those construction workers are firemen in another town. One helped us stretch a 4-inch line up to the hydrant. The other one helped us pump the truck while we sent some guys into the fire.
"We could have left the truck pumping like that, but to have someone sitting there on it is kind of nice."
Pedercini said the fire appears to have started in the kitchen on the first floor of the two-story structure; the cause still is under investigation.
"We did have smoke on the second floor as well, coming out the soffits and eaves," Pedercini said.
Rinehart said he has owned the home since 1977 and lived there with his family until 2000. He has been renting the home for about 11 years.
The Fire Department received the call at 12:41 Wednesday afternoon, providing a cap on a busy 24 hours for the call-volunteer department.
On Tuesday, the department responded to a fire traced to a pellet stove in a residence on Simonds Road (Route 7).
Wednesday morning, it had a fire in a home on Main Street west of the Field Park traffic circle.
"I got called out at about 8:20 this morning," Pedercini said. "We had a little fire in a floor of a bathroom. We were out there for about an hour. It was just us; it was contained pretty quick on our end. But we did have to cut into the floor of the bathroom and the ceiling down below it.
"I had just gotten myself home and showered pretty much, and we were right back at it. … It's been a busy couple of days."
Northern Berkshire EMS responded to the scene. None of the firefighters on the scene sustained injuries.

Tags: structure fire,   

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Williamstown Volunteer of the Year Speaks for the Voiceless

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff

Andi Bryant was presented the annual Community Service Award. 
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Inclusion was a big topic at Thursday's annual town meeting — and not just because of arguments about the inclusivity of the Progress Pride flag.
The winner of this year's Scarborough-Salomon-Flynt Community Service Award had some thoughts about how exclusive the town has been and is.
"I want to talk about the financially downtrodden, the poor folk, the deprived, the indigent, the impoverished, the lower class," Andi Bryant said at the outset of the meeting. "I owe it to my mother to say something — a woman who taught me it was possible to make a meal out of almost nothing.
"I owe it to my dad to say something, a man who loved this town more than anyone I ever knew. A man who knew everyone, but almost no one knew what it was like for him. As he himself said, 'He didn't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of.' "
Bryant was recognized by the Scarborough-Salomon-Flynt Committee as the organizer and manager of Remedy Hall, a new non-profit dedicated to providing daily necessities — everything from wheelchairs to plates to toothpaste — for those in need.
She started the non-profit in space at First Congregational Church where people can come and receive items, no questions asked, and learn about other services that are available in the community.
She told the town meeting members that people in difficult financial situations do, in fact, exist in Williamstown, despite the perceptions of many in and out of the town.
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