Pittsfield firefighters extinguish North Street blaze

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PITTSFIELD — Firefighters quickly knocked down a fire at a house on North Street on Wednesday morning.

No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation. 

Only one person was living in the home, officials said, and they'll be at least temporarily displaced.

"It'll be a little bit before it's habitable," said Pittsfield Deputy Fire Chief Thomas Sammons.

Four engines and a ladder truck were dispatched to the fire at the colonial farmhouse at 823 North St., which was reported at 9:11 a.m.

Smoke billowed billowed from the home until around 9:30 a.m., at which time firefighters gained control of the flames. Water sprung like a sprinkler from a connector in the department's hose, and water spilled from Engine 5 down Edgewood Road.

Pittsfield Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said the fire started at the rear of the home's first floor. He said it was a good thing his team was able to extinguish the flames quickly, as colonial-era "balloon framing" in the building, likely built in the late 1800s, lends too nicely to flame.

"It's an easy way for fire to communicate from one floor to another," he said.

There was no one visible in the home by the time firefighters arrived, Czerwinski said, and the fire alarms were going off.

The Pittsfield Police Department shut down traffic on North Street from Springside Avenue to Weller Avenue as crews battled the blaze. 

Inspectors from the city's health and building departments reported to the scene to investigate what firefighters described as "some hoarding issues" in the building. 

The scene unfolded a few blocks north of Berkshire Medical Center. Five new members of the fire department provided support for firefighters at the forefront, changing out air tanks and lending an extra hand. A rapid response team had equipment spread out on the lawn in case a firefighter became trapped or injured within the structure.Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-496-6296.


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