Great Barrington firefighters respond to a fire at the Pizza House early Tuesday morning.
Fire damage was limited to areas on the first floor and a second-floor bathroom.
GREAT BARRINGTON — The Fire Department extinguished a fire at Pizza House on State Road early Tuesday morning that severely damaged the business's kitchen and structure's first floor.
"Our crews did an excellent job limiting the damage despite the challenges posed by this particular structure, which has been a fixture in town for decades," Chief Charles Burger said. "I'm extremely grateful that a tragedy was avoided this morning, and I'm hopeful that Pizza House will be able to rebuild and the residents will be able to return home soon."
Firefighters were dispatched to the 36 State Road business at about 3:30 a.m. for a report of a structure fire with tenants possibly trapped on the floor above.
Upon arrival, firefighters observed heavy fire venting from the first-floor kitchen windows and smoke coming from the remainder of the building. Tenants were able to escape the building prior to firefighters reaching the scene, but there was still some uncertainty about whether or not a second apartment was occupied at the time the fire started.
Firefighters made an aggressive interior attack and conducted a thorough search of the second floor while battling extreme heat and zero visibility inside the building. Their search confirmed that there were no tenants left inside, and crews were able to quickly knock down the flames.
Once the fire was extinguished, firefighters remained on scene to extinguish hot spots. The firefighting effort was complicated by the fact that the building has been renovated and added onto multiple times during its lifespan, creating hidden areas that could potentially allow a fire to extend more easily.
The Fire Department was assisted on scene by police, the Sheffield Fire Department and Southern Berkshire Ambulance.
Fire damage was limited to the first-floor kitchen and a second-floor bathroom, but there is smoke damage throughout the entire building.
Residents in the upstairs apartments suffered from smoke inhalation that is not believed to be serious, and later went to the hospital on their own to seek medical treatment.
Displaced tenants were able to make alternative arrangements for shelter.
An investigation by the Fire Department and State Fire Marshal's Office is pointing to an electrical failure as the cause of the fire.
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