NORTH ADAMS -- A city woman was taken to the hospital after being rescued by neighbors from her burning apartment on Isbell Street on Monday afternoon.
Fire Director Stephen Meranti said Patricia Heller was taken to North Adams Regional Hospital by North Adams Ambulance Service for smoke inhalation after being rescued from her home at 4 Isbell St.
"It came in as a reported structure fire with people trapped in the apartment. The police officers who were first to arrive at the scene reported the occupant was out of the building," he said.
When the first fire engine arrived, the crew reported light smoke coming from the structure, he said. The fire was reported at 5:09 p.m.
Meranti said a preliminary investigation indicates the fire started when a lamp on top of a washing machine fell off and landed on some combustible material.
"We found fire in the bedroom, and it was just the contents of the room. It didn't get into the structure," he said.
The apartment, part of Greylock Valley Apartments, will be condemned by the city Health Department for the time being, he said. Heller does have a place to stay, he said. North Adams Housing Authority staff was at the scene.
Heller was reportedly pulled from a bathroom window by neighbors Tabatha Rogers and Heather Rohane, of Sullivan Street.
Rogers said that Rohane, who is her sister, saw some commotion in front of Heller's apartment and smoke coming from the
"It took us three times, but we got the window open enough to pull her out," she said.
Rogers said the first two times Heller opened the window, the window hit the safety locks, which prevented it from opening all the way.
"You could tell she wanted out of there, and if we didn't get that window open on the third try, I was going to have to break it," she said.
While Rogers and Rohane were trying help Heller out of the bathroom window, Cindy Vilayvanh, and Grant Amos Jr. and his wife, Angelique, were at the front of the apartment also trying to rescue Heller.
Vilayvanh said the neighbor living in the apartment next door could hear Heller screaming for help.
"We knew she was in there. We tried to find her, but we couldn't get past the door to the kitchen because of the flames," she said.
Angelique Amos, who is Heller's cousin, said she didn't think twice about going into the apartment to rescue Heller.
"I went in because it's my own blood," she said.
Grant Amos Jr. said that once he got past the front door, he couldn't breathe.
"It was scary, especially with it being that we couldn't find her," he said.
Heller has two children and they weren't injured in the fire, but one of her two cats was rescued by firefighters. A dog also escaped unharmed.
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