Pittsfield fire displaces two families


PITTSFIELD -- An early morning fire at Franco Terrace left two families temporarily homeless.

Two apartments were damaged by the fire, which is believed to have started on the back porch of the building, Deputy Chief Mark Cancilla said.

The cause of the fire has been determined to be the improper storage of cigarettes in a plastic coffee can, Cancilla said.

"We've seen quite a few fires with plastic coffee cans," he said.

The fire, which was called in at about 3 a.m., destroyed the porch before moving towards an attic in the home. Firefighters were able to put out the fire and stop it from spreading through the attic, Cancilla said. There was fire damage to the paneling of the home.

Seven people, in two apartments, were safely evacuated from the building. A firefighter twisted his ankle during the incident. The flames were put out after about 45 minutes. The fire caused smoke and water damage throughout the building.

The home should be inhabitable once some repairs are made, Cancilla said.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, the closest fire hydrant was blocked by a Jeep, Cancilla said. Firefighters had to use a hydrant about a couple hundred feet away, causing a delay, he said. "We had the same situation the other night,"Cancilla said. A fire hydrant was blocked on Dewey Avenue, after firefighters responded to a report of smoke in a building. "People have to be cognizant of where they park their vehicles," Cancilla said.

To reach Nathan Mayberg:
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