Monday March 28, 2011

PITTSFIELD -- City fire officials say careless smoking sparked a weekend blaze that left at least eight people homeless, It was Pittsfield's second fire in a week caused by tobacco use.

The Pittsfield Fire Department reported on Sunday "careless disposal of a cigarette" ignited flames that gutted the four-family home at 60 Grove St. late Saturday afternoon. The fire apparently began on the front porch and, fanned by a brisk wind, quickly spread up the front of the house and into the attic.

Fire Chief Robert M. Czerwinski declared the building a "total loss" and forcing the occupants who escaped unharmed to find alternate shelter with the help of the Berkshire County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Residents at 88 Third St. were more fortunate on March 18 after an improperly disposed of cigarette in an outside stairwell touched off a fire around 10:20 p.m.

Firefighters were able to quickly douse the flames and confine the fire to the exterior of the two-family dwelling.

All the residents home when the fire broke out also escaped unharmed.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.