PITTSFIELD, Mass. (NEWS10) — Multiple fire departments battled a structure fire at the Wyandotte Mill Complex in Pittsfield on Thursday. City Fire Chief, Tom Sammons, said they certainly had their hands full.
“It was a hard-fought fight,” said Sammons. “They had six cars on fire inside the building, along with heavy timber construction. It was a good, aggressive attack.”
The complex, located at 20 Keeler Street, is a large 1800s-era wool mill that was converted into several businesses. Sammons said the hard-working crews on scene stopped the flames from spreading to any of them.
“It didn’t extend that far,” the Chief remarked. “The fire attack got it under control relatively quickly.”
Officials say the fire started in an auto body shop. Somewhere around 15 vehicles, as well as some boats, were inside.
Several vehicles went up in flames as the fire spread. Firefighters tried to contain the fire to the auto body area and avoid it extending into the pool supply business which had a high quantity of chemicals and oxidizers, many of which are water reactive.
Following two alarms, a third alarm struck which brought in the Lenox Fire Department’s Engine three directly to the scene. Firefighters say Pittsfield’s reserve ariel ladder was away for yearly maintenance, so an additional nine firefighters arrived in pickup trucks.
After an incredible effort, the fire was confined, contained, and extinguished in three hours. Firefighters say all damage was limited to the first floor. At this time, there is no damage estimate.
Chief Sammons told NEWS10 they just don’t make buildings like this anymore. “The floors are like a minimum of three inches thick,” he noted. “And the beams are all huge. Well over-built building. So, it’s hard to get going, and then it’s also hard to put out.”
Which is why he keeps his crews ready to protect the landmark. “The Wyandotte Mill Complex is one that’s on the top of our list to prepare for,” concluded the Chief.
Responding departments included but were not limited to Lenox, Adams, Cheshire, Dalton, Lanesboro, and Hinsdale. Members of the Pittsfield Fire Investigation Unit, Pittsfield Police, and the Massachusetts State Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating the fire. Stick with NEWS10 on-air and online as we work to learn more.