The slate roof kept heat and fire inside the apartment. Firefighters had to punch a hole through the roof for ventilation.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Four people are displaced after a fire tore through the rear of their South Church Street home.
Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said firefighters responded at 12:24 Saturday afternoon to the call at 7 South Church St. One of the occupants, who was the only one home at the time, of the two-family home heard the smoke alarm and then found a fire on the rear porch. He escaped the building through the front stairway.
"On arrival, there was heavy fire on the second floor rear. Guys made an interior attack, knocked down a lot of the fire on the inside of the second floor," Czerwinski said.
The cause of the fire had not yet been determined at the scene but later fire investigators found cause to be the careless disposal of smoking materials. The fire had started on the porch and it spread into the apartment and into the attic. The fire did not fall to the first floor.
"We think the wind may have had a play in the spread of the fire. Because of a strong wind coming out of the west, it kind of blew it into that apartment. The other problem we had is that it is an old house, probably over 100 years old, and it has a slate roof on it. The slate roof helped keep a lot of the heat and flame in there," Czerwinski said.
Firefighters had to knock the slate roof off in order to ventilate the building. The fire was snuffed out fairly quickly and firefighters were packing up to leave shortly before 2 p.m. Nobody was injured in the blaze.
The response consisted of three engines, a ladder truck, and Car-2.
The fire left the building uninhabitable for now and the damage was estimated at $10,000 to $20,000. Czerwinski said all of the occupants have somewhere else to go for the evening.
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