NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The State Fire Marshal's office is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information about the fire that damaged for the old Hunter foundry on Sunday night.
"We're asking anyone in the area of Hunter Foundry Road in the late afternoon or early evening on Sunday to share their observations with investigators," said North Adams Fire Chief Brent Lefebvre.
He and State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey are asking that anyone with information on the blaze share it with investigators. Ostroskey said anonymous tips will be accepted.
Officials did not state if there was a suspected cause.
The North Adams Fire Department was notified of the fire shortly after 5:15 Sunday evening and responded to find the doors locked on the century-old building and an interior storage room fully engulfed in flames.
The fire caused significant damage to the first and second floors. Firefighters had to make a forced entry through a window to attack the fire from inside, bringing it under control in less than an hour. Mutual aid companies responded from Clarksburg and Williamstown.
Fire crews were on the scene for more than four hours pulling out debris and putting out hotspots. The foundry closed in 1962 and had been used primarily for storage in the following decades. Lefebvre said on Sunday that the building was not occupied and that it had no electric service.
The property is at the end of a narrow road, Hunter Foundry Road, off State Street. It is not easily visible and abuts the Apkins scrapyard.
The fire could be seen from a distance because of the thick black smoke coming from the building. Firefighters had to run several hundred feet of hose from a hydrant on State Street.
The Arson Watch Reward Program posts rewards of up to $5,000 to anyone who provides information that helps prevent, detect, or solve an arson crime. Persons with information can call the Arson Hotline confidentially at 1-800-682-9229 24 hours a day. The Arson Watch Reward Program is sponsored by the property and casualty insurance underwriting companies in Massachusetts.
The fire is being jointly investigated by the North Adams Fire Department and the State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit assigned to the State Fire Marshal's Office.
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My choice for mayor of North Adams is Jennifer Macksey.
I did not make this decision lightly or without thorough thought and analysis. For over 23 years, I have practiced law at my office across the street from City Hall and have been acutely interested in the direction our mayors have led this city. North Adams has the good fortune of having 2 worthy candidates to vote for this fall but only one will get my vote.
I have known Jennifer for over 20 years and have had numerous interactions with her both professionally and personally. As a result, I am convinced as to her outstanding character, decisiveness and leadership abilities. She has always been responsive, reasonable, and willing to make tough decisions by tackling them head-on.
However, it is Jennifer's vast work experience and commitment to excellence that sets her apart. Her recent positions stand out as a testament that she is immensely qualified to be our mayor. While working as tax collector, at Southern Vermont College and at MCLA, Jen has had a history of managing personnel and personalities. As mayor, her educational experience as both an instructor and an administrator will serve her as the chairperson of the School Committee.
She is experienced in long-term planning initiatives, overseeing budgets and finances for multiple entities and is very familiar with employee compensation, negotiating contracts, worker benefits, insurance contracts, bidding procedures, state and federal compliance and dealing with bargaining units. She has acted in a supervisory capacity and is familiar with the inner workings and realities of city government from her previous position as treasurer and CFO of North Adams.
Please join me in voting for Macksey as our next mayor on Nov. 2.
Community Fridge Program organizers Sarah Defusco and Isabel Twanmo met with the trustees Wednesday to see if the library would be interested in hosting a refrigerator from which community members could take food from.
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Mayor Thomas Bernard on Tuesday night acknowledged that the 1955 structure is "at the endpoint of a deferred maintenance challenge that has been decades in the making," despite a number of "expensive Band-Aids over the years."
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