Thursday July 12, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A smoky fire at the Ralph J. Froio Senior Center forced the city to close the North Street facility on Wednesday.

It was unclear if the center would reopen today at its regular time of 7 a.m. A sign on the front door Wednesday night indicated the building would be closed July 11 only due to the fire emergency.

The fire was discovered around 9 a.m. when an employee of the center detected smoke in the basement just prior to the building’s smoke detectors being activated, according to city fire officials. When firefighters arrived, they evacuated everyone safely from the building and quickly doused the fire.

They had found that materials in the kiln of a ceramic workshop had overheated, causing heavy smoke damage to the basement and rear stairwell.

After ventilating the building for about an hour, the evacuees were allowed back in to collect their personal belongings, fire officials said. However, the center was closed for the rest of the day to allow a cleaning contractor to remove the smoky odor from the building.

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