North Adams officials probing cause of Boardman Block apartment fire


NORTH ADAMS -- Officials are investigating a small fire that broke out in an apartment on Montana Street on Sunday afternoon, which was quickly contained.

No residents were injured in the fire, but Police Officer Benjamin Austin was treated for minor smoke inhalation, according to North Adams Police Sgt. James Burdick.

"It was contained on the second floor in a bedroom," said North Adams Fire Lt. Joseph Beverly. "It didn't really spread out of there."

Emergency personnel responded at 4:23 p.m. to the fire at 45 Montana St. in the multi-unit Boardman Block.

Information in the police logs show the building's landlord, Robert Gorghan, reported at 4:10 p.m. that a tenant in the affected apartment "has sent him numerous text messages stating people were at his door and windows with chainsaws trying to get him" and he was concerned with the tenant's mental health.

Police Sgt. James Burdick declined comment Monday, stating that it was an active investigation.

Tenants in the building's other apartments were evacuated while officials got the fire under control, Beverly said.

The fire caused smoke and water damage to the affected apartment, he said, and both electricity and water service was shut off on Monday. It was unclear at press time whether the occupants had been relocated.

The row of housing units at 39-45 Montana St. is adjacent to the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Campus, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is frequently inhabited by students.

Beverly noted the building's fire alarm system alerts the fire department if a smoke alarm or heat sensor is activated.

"Because of the type of fire system installed, we got an early response," Beverly said. "It minimized the impact."

The fire is under investigation by the state fire marshall and local police and fire officials. The North Adams Fire Department, the North Adams Police Department, and North Adams Ambulance Service responded to the scene.

The intersection of Blackinton and Montana streets was closed for approximately an hour as firefighters cleared the scene.

Eagle reporter Adam Shanks contributed to this story.


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