NORTH ADAMS -- An early morning blaze at a vacant house at 69 Chase Ave. on Sunday caused the North Adams Fire Department to "pull the hook" -- calling in all off-duty firefighters. One firefighter was taken to the North Adams Regional Hospital to be treated for injuries after a wall collapsed on him.
"We received multiple calls about the structure fire around 5 a.m.," Fire Director Stephen Meranti said Sunday. "Lt. John Paciorek was in charge at the time, and he ‘pulled the hook,' which was the right thing to do."
The Clarksburg Volunteer Fire Department was called in under mutual aid agreements, manning the fire station while city personnel battled back the flames.
"When we arrived at the scene, the roof and third floor attic were already engulfed in flames," Meranti said. "The fire had a good jump on us. It had been burning for some time and had made its way up a rear stairwell into the attic."
He said firefighters took "defensive action" upon their arrival, working to protect adjacent buildings -- a barn at the rear of the property and a two-story, two-family apartment house to the east. Neighbors in adjacent properties were evacuated from their homes.
According to Meranti, firefighter Ray King was running a hose to the back of the burning building when part of the attic roof collapsed, causing a wall to fall and strike him in the head.
King -- who was photographed by the Transcript rescuing a pet duck
Although the fire is still under investigation by the state Fire Marshal's office and the North Adams Police Department's detective Unit, Meranti said only one cause -- electrical -- has been ruled out at this time.
"There were no utilities running to the building," he said. "The building has been vacant for some time."
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