Fire displaces tenants from Providence Court in Pittsfield


PITTSFIELD -- A fire that began on the fifth floor of Providence Court, a five-story high-rise serving the elderly and disabled, on Wednesday night resulted in the temporary displacement of 33 tenants from the elder housing facility at 379 East St., the Pittsfield Fire Department said.

No one was injured in the blaze, which was reported to the Fire Department at 11:23 p.m.

The fire began when an overheated ceiling light ballast ignited a diffuser and ceiling tile in a common hallway on the fifth floor.

"Water damage was the issue. Water leaked into electrical panels feeding into the third and fourth floors. The power had to be turned off, which meant residents on those floors were without electricity," said Pittsfield Deputy Fire Chief Michael Polidoro.

The blaze also activated two sprinkler heads that contained the fire and extinguished it. The Fire Department responded when smoke detectors alerted residents.

Approximately 33 elder residents out of 81 were displaced by the blaze and taken to a city shelter for temporary housing overnight.

Minor fire damage was reported in the immediate area of the fire. Extensive water damage occurred on the third and fourth floors. Power was also shutdown on the third and fourth floors.

Emergency responders worked with the Pittsfield school department to set up an emergency shelter at Reid Middle School, which took in 15 tenants. The shelter was assisted by the American Red Cross Berkshire County Chapter.

The Red Cross reported that Dunkin' Donuts donated coffee and doughnuts to shelter residents in the early morning hours. Reid Middle School staff will provide residents with breakfast and lunch today. The Red Cross also provided comfort kits containing personal care items that the residents could use.

Residents should be able to return to Providence Court later today, according to Deputy Fire Chief Keith Phillips.


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