An early morning apartment fire in Pittsfield is being blamed on an unattended candle. Luckily, the damage to the unit was minimal.

According to Pittsfield Deputy Fire Chief Neil Myers, firefighters arrived at 124-126 Appleton Avenue in Pittsfield shortly after the fire was called in at around 12:30 AM Wednesday. Four engines, a ladder truck, and a command vehicle were dispatched to the scene.

 

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(Above: location of an early morning apartment fire in Pittsfield, 124-126 Appleton Ave)

 

A resident was not answering pleas to evacuate the building...

The person that called the fire reported that the house was filling with smoke that smelled of an electrical fire. When firefighters arrived on the scene they found the apartment's residents evacuating the 2-story, 4-family structure safely. Tenants pointed the firefighters to a downstairs apartment where a resident was not answering their pleas to evacuate the building.

 

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An unattended candle was to blame for the fire...

When units got to the apartment they found the resident actively trying to extinguish the fire that was causing black smoke from the floor to the ceiling. That resident was escorted out safely. The source of the smoke was determined to be plastic that was burning on top of an aquarium where a candle had been left burning unattended. The candle apparently burned and melted the plastic top of the aquarium after the resident had fallen asleep. The candle eventually self-extinguished after burning through the top of the aquarium and falling into the water, but only after filling the 1st and 2nd-floor apartments with thick black smoke.

There were no working smoke detectors in the apartments...

Residents in the other 2 of the other 3 apartments happened to be awake and were alerted by smoke detectors in the 2 front entryways of the building. Deputy Chief Myers said that the residents then banged on doors to wake others after calling 911. There were no apartments with a single working detector, according to Myers.

Damage minimal, minor smoke inhalation...

There were no injuries other than a tenant that had minor smoke inhalation. That tenant refused treatment after being evaluated by Action EMS. The apartment sustained minor fire damage to the sheetrock above the aquarium and smoke damage throughout the 1st-floor apartment. One tenant was assisted by the local Red Cross to find alternate housing, while the other tenants were allowed to return to their units.

Myers said that he cannot stress enough to use caution when burning candles and to not burn them when you are away or asleep. He also stressed the importance of having working detectors to wake you up in case of fire in the middle of the night.

 

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