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No one hurt as fire spreads from Cadillac to house in Easthampton

  • Firefighters battled a blaze Thursday morning at 49 Oliver St. in Easthampton.  —Jack Suntrup

  • Firefighters battled a blaze Thursday morning at 49 Oliver St. in Easthampton.  —Jack Suntrup

  • Firefighters battled a blaze Thursday morning at 49 Oliver St. in Easthampton.  —Carol Lollis

  • Alex Blow talks about the fire at his home in Easthampton Thursday morning. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Alex Blow talks about the fire at his home in Easthampton Thursday morning. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • A fire fighter cleans up after a fire on Oliver Street in Easthampton Thursday morning. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS



@JackSuntrup
Thursday, May 18, 2017

EASTHAMPTON — Alex Blow spread peanut butter on an English muffin upstairs, flipped on the TV to watch Netflix downstairs, and, after a while, heard a pop outside the basement door on Oliver Street.

“Before I even opened the door I saw an orange glow from outside,” Blow, 21, said Thursday morning.

His red 2006 Cadillac CTS was on fire in the driveway. And the blaze was spreading. He ran upstairs to make sure he was the only one in the house he shares with his dad at 49 Oliver St. Blow, the only one home, looked around to see if he could beat back the flames.

Then, “I just started panicking and I ran back downstairs and out and I called the police,” Blow said.

Easthampton Fire Chief David Mottor said firefighters from Easthampton and several area fire departments responded to the blaze, which broke out after 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

Motter said no one was injured, and the exact cause had not been determined, though a spokeswoman from the state fire marshall’s office called the fire “accidental” and not suspicious.

The house suffered a partial ceiling collapse, and Mottor estimated the damage at about $100,000.

Around the corner on Park Hill Road, Ron Baranowski, 51, was working for Duffy Willard Paving & Excavating, paving Cheryl Blow’s driveway, around the corner from the house where her ex-husband David and Alex live.

“We just saw a bunch of smoke coming from the place,” Baranowski said as the sun beat down on the new asphalt.

He and his co-workers called 911 and rushed over to check to see if everyone had escaped from the house. Then they pushed a camping trailer away from the burning car and home, and detached propane tanks to get them away from the fire, Baranowski said

“They were a huge help,” said Cheryl Blow, who said the men moved the trailer “with their brawn.” She noticed the smoke as she returned home after a doctor’s appointment.

“It could’ve been a lot worse if the trailer was left there,” Mottor said.

Alex Blow sat hunched in a neighbor’s yard with emergency lights flashing and fire hoses snaking around him.

His mom, dad, girlfriend and others surrounded and hugged him as he looked at the single-story, paneled house where his grandmother used to live.

“I don’t know what’s really going on right now,” he said. “I’m just kind of dealing with it one minute at a time.”

Because of the hot weather, the Easthampton Fire Department received mutual aid from Northampton, Holyoke, Southampton, South Hadley Fire District 1 and Westover Air Force Base fire departments. Crews remained on the scene until 4 p.m. to ensure there were no smoldering fires.

Jack Suntrup can be reached at jsuntrup@gazettenet.com.