Pittsfield firefighters stop Union Street fire before it reaches second floor

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PITTSFIELD — Firefighters put out a blaze in the bedroom of a downtown apartment Saturday morning, stopping it before it spread through a two-story, wooden building.

No one was injured in the fire at 126 Union St. Upstairs neighbors called the Pittsfield Fire Department after they heard a smoke detector sounding while tenants below were out on an errand.

"What saved the apartment and the house was the fact that they had closed the bedroom door," said Deputy Fire Chief Daniel Garner. "It would have been a different thing if they had not closed that door."

If the door to the bedroom had been left open, Garner said, the fire might have accelerated and spread. Instead, the fire was extinguished in an hour.

Garner said the Red Cross is assisting occupants of the first-floor apartment, a father and child, including the offer of temporary housing. The tenants returned Saturday morning to find the property swarming with trucks and fire crews.

When the department responded at 9:17 a.m., smoke was flowing out of a first-floor window. The fire was caused by improperly disposed smoking items, investigators determined.

Damage from flames and smoke, along with water from a hand-held line used to extinguish it, was estimated at $5,000.

According to city records, the two-story, wood-frame building is owned by Dominick R. Villane and Elizabeth Pelletier. They could not be reached at a listed phone number.

Garner said the owners live in Florida and face difficulty in returning to the city due to the new coronavirus.

The property, constructed in 1910, is valued by the city at $86,400.

Tenants upstairs, along with their cat and hedgehog, were not affected by the fire. Garner praised them for quickly calling in a report on 911.

"It was a great example of the system working," he said.

Larry Parnass can be reached at lparnass@berkshireeagle.com, at @larryparnass on Twitter and 413-588-8341.


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