Pittsfield fire set with 'malicious intent,' investigators say
PITTSFIELD — A fire that damaged a multi-family home on upper North Street early Monday — just hours after the city shut it down — was intentionally set, according to city and state fire officials.
A joint investigation by the Pittsfield Fire Department and the State Fire Marshal Office has determined the fire at 1173 North St. was set with "malicious intent," Pittsfield Deputy Fire Chief Daniel Garner said on Wednesday afternoon.
"There were multiple points of origin, and that makes for a difficult fire to fight," he said. "The [firefighters] that fought it did a great job given the circumstances."
Garner added the case remains open as investigators work to determine what was used to start the blaze. He noted the building, owned by Taylor Bartlett, was insured, but the level of coverage was not clear, nor was the estimated cost of the damage.
So far, no charges have been filed in connection with the case.
The fire, across from Dave's Sporting Goods, was reported around 3 a.m. Monday, with firefighters first to arrive on the scene finding heavy smoke and flames shooting from the back of the four-apartment dwelling, fire officials said.
As the fire intensified, a second alarm was called and all 18 city firefighters on duty were brought in to battle the blaze, which took about 30 minutes to bring under control,
A city firefighter suffered a shoulder injury, for which he was treated at Berkshire Medical Center and released.
The building was unoccupied, as the two tenants were forced to vacate the multi-family home after a pickup truck driven by an alleged drugged driver crashed through a guard rail and sideswiped the structure about 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
The tenants escaped unharmed, but they were forced to leave because a city inspector called to the scene found multiple building code violations unrelated to the crash and ordered the landlord to close the building and find temporary housing for the tenants.
Garner said Eversource had shut off electricity service to the home prior to the fire.
Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233.
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