image description
The store is approaching its 110-year milestone in 2024, originally opening as a variety store in 1914.
image description
All of the city's initial crews responded. At the scene were six engines a truck company in service.

Update: Harry's Supermarket Fire Started at the Deli Counter

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
Print Story | Email Story
The mural on the side of the building did not appear to be affected by the fire.
Updated on 7/12/2023 at 7:43 A.M.: A Pittsfield Fire Department report released early Wednesday morning stated that the fire origin area is where the deli counter was located.
 
PFD members worked aggressively to control/extinguish the fire, ventilate the smoke, and prevent the fire's spread. The fire was eventually brought under control in a little over an hour and a fire watch was posted through the evening.
 
The report continued that there is no damage estimate at this time, and the building sustained heavy fire damage in the rear of the store, smoke, and water damage. 
 
But the building is sound, and the damage incurred is not expected to cause the building to be razed.
 
There were no reported civilian injuries associated with this fire. One Pittsfield firefighter was transported to BMC with heat exhaustion. He was treated, released, and expected to make a full recovery.
 
The report went on to say firefighters responded at 6:25 after the supermarket closed at 6. Upon arrival, they found a large volume of smoke showing from the single-story, non-combustible
market. 
 
Car2 arrived shortly after E5 and found heavy smoke conditions permeating from all sides of the building. The smoke conditions consisted of heavy dark smoke pushing through openings with a high velocity. This smoke condition was consistent with a high probability of heavy fire conditions inside.
 
A 2nd alarm was struck immediately, bringing all on-duty companies to the scene.
 
The report indicated that entering the secure building was a challenge. Firefighters also faced high heat conditions.
 
Lanesboro, Dalton, and Lenox fire departments covered the city during the fire. Hinsdale Fire Department provided their firefighter rehabilitation and air trucks.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Smoke billowed out of Harry's Supermarket Tuesday evening as firefighters responded to a two-alarm blaze.

Residents crowded a closed-down stretch of Wahconah Street as crews broke the over 100-year-old store's front windows to allow the smoke to release.

The alarm occurred around 6:30 p.m. just after Cory Wilcox, Nico Amuso, Nathan Myers, and Alexander Sawicki were appointed to the Pittsfield Fire Department during City Council.

"Tonight we were swearing in four firefighters, four new guys sworn in on City Council.  Just walked out of the chambers downstairs and got a report of a structure fire here at Harry's Supermarket on Wahconah Street,"  Chief Thomas Sammons reported around 7:30 p.m.

"We got here and there was heavy smoke showing immediately, made entry into the building through guarded doors, and vented the roof. We got into the seed of the fire. There was heavy smoke and not a lot of fire so right now, we're rehabbing our crews, cycling new crews in, and we're going to hope to have it put out here in another hour."

The investigation is said to be "very preliminary" but Sammons said that the fire was on the first floor in the kitchen area.

All of the city's initial crews responded.  At the scene were six engines a truck company in service.

"Everybody's here," Sammons reported. "We have surrounding towns. We have Hinsdale's rehab here at the scene helping our guys out and then we have Dalton and Lenox covering our stations."

He noted the high temperatures and said that keeping the firefighters from overheating is a big priority.  Bottles of water were being distributed on the scene.

Wahconah Street was blocked from Alcove Street to the intersection of Pecks Road to make room for the response.

In 2021, Robert and Thomas Nichols sold the operation to Ravikant Patel, who owns a number of other businesses in the county including Williamstown Wine and Spirits and O'Geary's in Adams. 

The store is approaching its 110-year milestone in 2024, originally opening as a variety store in 1914.

From the street, Harry's hallmark advertisement signs could be seen charred.  The mural on the side of the building did not appear to be affected by the fire.


Tags: structure fire,   

If you would like to contribute information on this article, contact us at info@iberkshires.com.

West Side Residents Build Ideal Neighborhood At Zoning Session

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

Program manager James McGrath opens the session at Conte Community School.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Residents mapped out a West Side they would like to see during an input session this week, utilizing multi-use properties to create robust density.

Held at Conte Community School on Monday, this was the second meeting of a project to examine zoning in the neighborhood. The Department of Community Development, in partnership with Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, has been working with an urban planning and design consulting team on the effort that will conclude on June 30.

"This is a really important project for your neighborhood," Park, Open Space, and Natural Resource Program Manager James McGrath said.

Multifamily houses with spaces to accommodate a small business were popular. A community center, church, year-round farmer's market, and even a place to draw in commerce appeared as elements on the tabletop street.

An emphasis was also placed on the amount of immigrants coming to the area in need of housing.

Max Douhoure, community outreach coordinator for Habitat, explained that he grew up in Africa where people liked to live together, which his build reflected.

"I wanted to improve their conditions," he said. "That’s what I did."

During the first meeting in November, the team heard desires for businesses and commercial uses — including a need for small, family-owned business support. The session provided an overview of what zoning is, what zoning can and can't do, how zoning can improve the community, and the impact on residents.

"Today's exercise is really about creating spaces in buildings and on properties to do a combination of residential [uses] that meet the needs and commercial uses that meet the needs of the neighborhood,"  Emily Keys Innes, principal of Innes Associates explained.

View Full Story

More Pittsfield Stories