North Adams fire deemed accidental

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NORTH ADAMS — A house fire that displaced five families earlier this week has been ruled accidental, authorities said Friday.

The fire at 246-248 Houghton St. started in the bedroom in a third floor apartment, according to a joint statement sent out by State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and North Adams Fire Chief Stephen A. Meranti.

Working smoke alarms alerted a resident to the fire shortly after 1 p.m., the statement said. The resident tried to fight the fire himself, which delayed notification to the fire department. He suffered minor injuries. No other residents of the six-unit building were injured.

The cause of the fire will remain officially undetermined, as investigators cannot eliminate smoking or a space heater as the specific cause. The space heater itself was too badly damaged to determine if it malfunctioned. The building is considered a total loss.

Several different organizations pitched in to help residents of the apartment building get back on their feet.

The Rev. Dave Anderson, pastor of the First Baptist Church of North Adams and fire department chaplain, is working as a liaison to help victims displaced by the fire. There is at least one online campaign, and at least two local restaurants are seeking donations for the families.

The fire was jointly investigated by the North Adams Fire and Police Departments and State Police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

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