Source: Sunday Republican (Springfield, MA)
Author: PATRICK JOHNSON
NORTHAMPTON, MA – A stubborn fire tore through a house comprised of eight apartments yesterday, leaving firefighters to battle flames into the night.
Firefighters were called to the house at 277 Crescent St. at 3:10 p.m. They were still at the scene trying to extinguish the fire at late last night.
Flames poured out of a second story window of the house and later from the roof, and black smoke drifted into the air as firefighters sprayed water on the house.
Neighboring homes in the tightly-knit residential neighborhood were hosed down as a precaution. A large crowd of onlookers gathered on the street.
Firefighters from Holyoke, Amherst, Goshen, Easthampton, Williamsburg, South Hadley and Hatfield assisted Northampton at the fire scene.
The state incident rehabilitation vehicle responded to give firefighters a place to rest and rehydrate, and the Hampshire County Air Supply Unit was at the fire to refill firefighters’ air tanks.
Erica Winter, a tenant who has lived in the house for five years, said the house is divided into eight apartments.
Winter said she was outside when she saw smoke and ran around to every apartment, knocking on doors and telling everyone to get out.
Winter said the building’s central fire alarm system, which was recently fixed because it used to go off all the time, did not sound when the fire started. The smoke alarms did ring, she said.
The fire will cause Winter, a freelance writer, to miss her Thursday deadline for an article she was writing for the Mount Holyoke alumni magazine.
The topic of the article was Mount Holyoke alumni’s efforts to help people who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina. “Pretty ironic, huh?” Winter said.
Winter and her partner planned to stay at a friend’s place last night.
Marilyn Silberglied said she was in her apartment when Winter knocked on her door and suddenly smoke started pouring up from the floor.
“We each grabbed a cat and ran out of the building,” Silberglied said as she stood outside with two cat carriers.