Easthampton fire displaces four people; water damage closes Nini's Ristorante on Cottage Street

Last modified: Friday, April 04, 2014
EASTHAMPTON — A fire Thursday afternoon that displaced four people from their Cottage Street apartments and temporarily closed Nini’s Ristorante was caused by careless disposal of smoking material, according to state investigators.

Easthampton Fire Chief David Mottor said a fire called in at 1:28 p.m. in an apartment above Nini’s at 124 Cottage St. caused an estimated $80,000 to $90,000 worth of damage. Four tenants were displaced from three apartments on the second floor. The Red Cross was called to help three people find temporary housing.

Nobody was injured in the fire, and a cat was rescued unharmed.

Mottor said water damaged the bar and takeout area at Nini’s and that a cleanup crew was at work in the restaurant after the fire was extinguished. The restaurant was not open when the fire started. He estimated that the restaurant could reopen in about 10 to 15 days.

Mottor said two of the apartments had little smoke damage and their tenants should be able to return within a few days after an electrician inspects wiring.

The third apartment where the fire started, which suffered smoke and water damage, will likely be uninhabitable for anywhere from three to six months, he said.

Mottor said 20 firefighters from four communities responded to the blaze. Nobody was home in any of the apartments when a 911 call reported smoke coming from a second-floor rear window of the building.

Firefighters arrived and found heavy fire and smoke coming from what Mottor described as an overstuffed sofa or love seat.

Due to the age and size of the building and the breezy conditions Thursday afternoon, help was needed from neighboring communities, Mottor said. In addition to Easthampton, firefighters from Northampton, Southampton and Holyoke responded.

Mottor said the fire was extinguished quickly.

Easthampton Mayor Karen Cadieux briefly spoke to firefighters and police at the fire and said she was grateful that no one was injured.

“The one thing I care about is that no one was hurt,” she said.

Mottor said he didn’t know for sure if the building was insured, but there was an insurance adjuster on scene.

Cottage Street was closed while firefighters were on the scene. It reopened at 3:25 p.m.