Residents displaced by fire at downtown Adams apartment building

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Photo Gallery | Firefighters battle a building fire in Adams

ADAMS — Several residents were displaced from their homes on Friday when a downtown apartment building was damaged in a fire that authorities believe began in a kitchen.

No residents were injured in the fire at 72 Park St., but a firefighter who was overcome by heat was transported to the North Adams Campus of Berkshire Medical Center, according to Adams Fire Chief Paul Goyette.

The firefighter was "fine" after being "treated and released for heat exhaustion," he said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but it appears to have started on a stovetop and spread to the attic through a ventilation system, Goyette said. State Fire Marshal personnel were on the scene Friday evening to further investigate.

The chief said responders had extinguished the fire, which mostly impacted the building's upper levels on its north side, by roughly 4 p.m. It did not pose a threat to neighboring buildings.

Though flames were rarely visible from outside the structure, Goyette said "we had to keep chasing."

"It was really labor intensive," Goyette said.

The 10-unit building also houses Carolyn's Tax Service, and Goyette said firefighters were working to salvage the business. Firefighters also rescued two cats from the upstairs apartments.

It was unclear Friday evening how many residents lived in the building or how extensive the units were damaged. All people living in the building were displaced, but Goyette did not know their exact number.

"We will be maintaining a fire watch through the evening," Goyette said Friday night. "Tomorrow we'll let the residents in to clear out some belongings."

He added, "It was a tremendous effort by all departments involved. That's what we do; work together and unify the response."

Heather Moore, who lives in an upstairs apartment, said she arrived home about 1 p.m., just as a police cruiser pulled onto the scene. They knocked on doors to make sure other residents were out of the building.

Moore's husband and their two children weren't home at the time, but their Siamese cat was still inside hours after the blaze began. By 3 p.m., there was still no sign of the cat, and Moore was unsure where her family would be staying.

"I could be upset over everything I'm losing, but my kids are fine," Moore said, adding that she's already received offers from friends with places to stay.

Red Carpet owners Ann Bartlett and her brother George Haddad looked on from the restaurant and provided temporary shelter for those who had been displaced. Ambulance personnel heaved buckets of ice from the restaurant across the street to help cool firefighters from seven departments as they worked furiously to contain the fire and as onlookers gathered across the street.

"We'll give them anything they need," Haddad said.

American Red Cross workers were on scene and speaking with those who live in the building.

The building's owner, Trevor Crombie, also was there, but he said he was staying back and allowing emergency responders to do their jobs.

Given how quickly the situation unfolded, he said he was uncertain what would happen to the building's residents.

Park Street was closed for hours and traffic was rerouted through Depot Street.

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.


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