Condemned North Adams Apartment Building Burns to the Ground

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An image from the city's property database shows what the front of the building looked like
Update (05182023 at 10 a.m.): Firefighters were on the scene Thursday morning monitoring the wreckage.
"Nothing new right now, obviously the fire is knocked down and we should be out of here shortly," Deputy Fire Chief Robert Patenaude said. "The fire marshal is here this morning."
An excavator was on the scene flipping through the wreckage so firefighters could make sure the fire is still out.
"We are just keeping it under control today. Right now we are just spreading it out to make sure it is completely out," he said. "The problem we had, why we had to bring in the excavator, four stories came down and you can't get down under the fire. So we have to come in, separate it all, and wet it down."


NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — An unoccupied four-story apartment building burned to the ground Wednesday night. Fire officials are calling the fire suspicious at the moment.

Firefighters responded to 28 Morgan Ave. a little before 11 p.m. to find the condemned building fully engulfed. Flames could be seen throughout the downtown.
Deputy Fire Chief Robert Patenaude said he could see flames going through the roof and extensions of the fire running up behind the house and down the front. He immediately called for mutual aid from Adams and Clarksburg.
"It's going to be a 'surround and drown,'" he said. "No interior fire attempt was made as the fire was too well involved before we got here."
The building had been condemned by the city and marked with red Xs "so we would not even have made an attempt at entering," Patenaude said. 
Firefighters pulled hoses up Morgan Avenue to reach the blaze and maneuvered the ladder truck under the electrical wires on State Street to reach over the trees and pour water onto the building. Morgan Avenue is a steep narrow street and the lot below the vacant structure heavily wooded. Firefighters also worked to contain any fire from spreading into the surrounding wooded area. 
Patenaude said there was some trouble in with water flow because all the hoses were pulling from the same water main. 
"But once we got it set up, we knocked it down and kept going anywhere," he said. "Other than that, no injuries. Everyone did a great job."
Mayor Jennifer Macksey was at the scene, as was interim Police Chief Mark Bailey, Commissioner of Public Services Timothy Lescarbeau and Building Inspector William Meranti. Northern Berkshire EMS was also called and National Grid temporarily disconnected power to the area.
Firefighters were able to get the blaze under control around 12:30 a.m.  State Street was closed from the Hadley Overpass south. Patenaude said around 1 a.m. that it would still be a couple hours before the street could fully open.
Residents were evacuated from an apartment building at the corner of State and Morgan for about two hours; they were let back in once their power was turned back on.
"It was an abandoned house. There was power for the house," said Patenaude. "I would label it suspicious at this time."
The 48-room building, which was built in 1880, is owned by Brandon Navom of North Adams.

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Blackinton Mill Owners: City's Delays Put $17M Hotel Project in Peril

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Mayor Jennifer Macksey speaks at Tuesday's City Council meeting as Tourists owner Ben Svenson looks on. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The $17 million expansion plans for the Blackinton Mill are tripping over a 10-foot high pile hides that has been decaying for 60 years. 
The partnership that operates Tourists resort says the whole project — including a proposed bike path — is in danger of failing before it even begins if a November grant deadline to clean up the mess isn't met. 
But the Mayor Jennifer Macksey says more testing is needed before the city takes control of the one-acre site and is positing a February closing date.
On Tuesday, the partners were pleading with the City Council to use any tools it had to make the mayor abide by an agreement to close on the parcel before the deadline.
"I really don't want to say it will go away but we will not be able to sustain any longer unless we can resolve this issue," said principal Benjamin Svenson. "And so I appeal to you tonight to please — whatever tools you have — communicate to the mayor the urgency of resolving this matter."
The matter before the council was an authorization for the mayor to purchase the property, which would be for $1. The city would be able to apply for a U.S. Environmental Protection Act brownfield grant not available to the private entity. 
"We need this to secure our financing," said Svenson. "We can't get a bank loan until we resolve this matter. ... 
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