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A single-family home being renovated on Central Avenue in Dalton was destroyed by fire Friday morning. The cause is under investigation.
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Houses on both sides of the structure were damaged by the heat and flames.

Three-Plus Alarm Dalton Structure Fire Destroys Unoccupied Home

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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DALTON, Mass. — A three-plus alarm structure fire at 92 Central Ave. nearly burnt an unoccupied single-family home that was under renovation down to its frame. It also spread to two surrounding homes.

The flames were contained in a couple of hours with the help of other fire departments and responders are still on the scene in the overhaul stage.

There were no reported injuries and the fire is under investigation by the state fire marshal.  There is currently no cause or origin.

The Fire Department received the call at 5:15 a.m. on Friday reporting smoke coming from the building. Fire Chief James Peltier arrived on the scene and observed heavy fire showing from the righthand side of the building that ended up catching the neighboring house on fire and spreading to its second-floor bedroom. 

He said it was fully involved.

The home on the other side of the engulfed structure also sustained fire and a house across the street had its vinyl siding melted from the radiant heat.

A trash roll-off on the property of 92 Central Ave. also caught on fire and two vehicles there were severely damaged.

Engine 3 arrived on the scene and first used two handlines to attack the fire on the two surrounding buildings going back and forth before attacking the central fire to keep it from spreading farther.

At about that time, a second alarm was struck bringing additional out-of-town fire departments, and shortly after that, a third alarm was struck.

"With it being a time of day everyone's going to work and so it's a really tough time to get  [firefighters]. Many of the call members are volunteers, so that was the reason for the third alarm," Peltier explained.

"Then we had some of the departments were not able to muster their team up to come so we had to fill in with a few other towns so that's where the three-alarm plus comes from."

The fire was under control around 7:30 with an extensive overhaul. When iBerkshires was on the scene around 11 a.m., crews were still there and Peltier expected them to be there for most of the day because of the extent of the damage.

"We stopped flowing water in here, we'll see if anything's continuing to burn, so we're giving it a few minutes to dry up," he said.

"We're still in overhaul stage, we're awaiting the investigator, and then we're just pretty much going to stand by, I would say honestly most of the day with the amount of damage, until they can get a company out here to either demolish it or at least fence it off for safety."

Pittsfield Fire Department responded with an engine and a ladder and Savoy, Peru, Hinsdale, Lenox, Cheshire, and Lanesborough also responded.

The home was being renovated so there were no occupants in it at the time and no families have requested services from the American Red Cross.

Peltier said it was a busy morning because there were also two medical calls around the same time as the fire. Those were believed to have been handled by the Lenox Fire Department and County Ambulance.

Tags: structure fire,   

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BEAT: Conserving Flowers and their Pollinators

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Joan Edwards will speak at the May Pittsfield Green Drinks event on Tuesday, May 17th at 6:00 PM and give a slideshow presentation about the rapidly decreasing biodiversity that is taking place globally, known as the sixth extinction. 
She will specifically focus on flowers and their insect visitors. 
This sixth extinction is primarily driven by human actions, from habitat loss to climate change. The impacts of biodiversity loss are far-reaching, resulting in biological communities that are less resilient and with diminished ecosystems services. As part of the discussion, Joan will explore the impact of biodiversity loss in the pollinator-flower world and examine how the surprising dynamics of flower-pollinator networks can help to conserve both flowers and their pollinators.
Joan Edwards is a botanist interested in understanding the biomechanics and adaptive significance of ultra-fast plant movements—plant actions that are so quick they occur in milliseconds. Using high-speed video (up to 100,000 fps), she studies the evolutionary significance and biomechanics of fast movements, including the trebuchet catapults of bunchberry dogwood, the vortex rings of Sphagnum moss, the splash cups of liverworts, and the "poppers" of wood sorrel. Her early fieldwork was on the impact of moose on plants in the boreal forests of Isle Royale National Park. 
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