PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A family of five was displaced Sunday night after a fire gutted their Burke Street home.
Just before 6 p.m. on Sunday, dispatch received multiple calls of flames shooting out of the front of a duplex at 125 Burke Ave. Shortly after firefighters arrived, the windows on the second floor blew out and the fire quickly spread throughout the interior of the home.
"We started deploying hand streams and by the time we were getting in position, the second-floor window in the back of the building, or what we call the C side, blew out and the second floor flashed over," Deputy Fire Chief Matt Noyes said.
"From there, it just kind of took off through the house."
The duplex was occupied by the same family and none of the residents were harmed. At least three were inside the building at the time and were able to escape. However, the family dog died and a cat is still missing.
"It is pretty well gutted. Structurally it is still sound but the contents of the first and second floor are destroyed. They also lost a family dog and we have a cat that is missing," Noyes said.
Two of the family members were transported to Berkshire Medical Center. According to Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski, one woman had a pre-existing medical condition and she was transported for precautionary measures and another family member reported difficulty breathing. Noyes said a firefighter was also transported for a knee injury.
The family is now working with the Red Cross.
Noyes said when Engine 5 first arrived, it found flames spreading quickly on the first floor. When Noyes arrived, he called in a second alarm, bringing all on-duty firefighters to the scene.
"Immediately when I got on scene, I saw the volume of fire and I made it double [alarm] which gives you everybody we have, which is 18 guys," Noyes said.
An engine company from Lenox covered Pittsfield's headquarters, Dalton sent a ladder company to the scene, and Hinsdale provided rehab.
Noyes said the firefighters had a little difficulty getting access to water, running a line a good distance from the hydrant.
Once on scene, a crew took a hand line to the fire while others got into position to attack it from the rear. But, just as the firefighters shut down the front line and prepared to go in the back, the windows blew out.
"We had fire blowing out of the front of the building. We set up to go in the back, there is a sliding door, we wanted to come in and push it out the front of the building. It was growing rapidly and we had an alarm company that was here grab a line and hit it quickly,"
From then on, all on the scene were busy combating a significant amount of flames. Noyes said once the department was able to get in, the fire was knocked down quickly.
"They battled. Once we were able to get in there, they put the fire out quickly. There was so much fire, such a large volume of fire, we had all of our crews working. They worked hard. They battled hard. They put it out quickly but it was going pretty good before we got here," Noyes said.
Fire Inspectors responded to the scene but have not yet determined a cause of the fire.
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