Firefighters battle blaze on Ferry Street in Easthampton

  • Firefighters battle a blaze at 69 Ferry St. in Easthampton.  STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Firefighters battle a blaze at 69 Ferry St. in Easthampton.  STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Fire at 69 ferry Street, Full Tilt Auto Body in Easthampton Friday, May 22, 2020. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Fire at 69 ferry Street, Full Tilt Auto Body in Easthampton Friday, May 22, 2020. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • The roof of the building housing Full Tilt Auto Body at 69 Ferry St. in Easthampton collapsed soon after this photo was taken early Friday afternoon. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Fire at 69 ferry Street, Full Tilt Auto Body in Easthampton Friday, May 22, 2020. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • A firefighter yells instructions Friday at the scene of the fire at 69 Ferry St. in Easthampton. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 5/22/2020 1:42:47 PM

EASTHAMPTON — A five-alarm fire at 69 Ferry St., a commercial building that houses Full Tilt Auto Body & Collision, caused the total loss of the building and brought in mutual aid from more than a half-dozen cities and towns.

This included the deployment of four ladder trucks. Easthampton Fire Chief David Mottor guessed he hadn’t seen that many deployed in Easthampton since the early 1990s.

The department received a 911 call for a reported structure fire at about 12:35 p.m., Mottor said.

Upon arrival, he said, heavy fire could be seen coming out of a vent stack from a paint booth, as well as heavy fire under the roof.

Approximately 20 minutes into the response, a portion of the roof collapsed, Mottor said. This was followed by total roof collapse.

The blaze was hit from above with water from ladder trucks, as well as from hoses on the ground. Small explosions could also be heard coming from the flame-engulfed building.

Mottor said the building’s roof is a design that’s at risk of failing readily.

“We don’t want to put firefighters at risk so we just surround and drown from the top of it,” he said.

No injuries were reported as a result of the fire, and the cause of the fire and the cost of the damage had yet to be determined.

A small crowd from outside and inside the neighborhood gathered to watch the firefighters battle the blaze.

Barbara Hopkins, who lives in the neighborhood, was in her living room when she noticed flashing lights reflected off her television screen.

“The big thing in the middle of the roof … fire was coming out of it,” was the sight she described she saw when she went outside.

The fire departments of Amherst, Northampton, Holyoke, Southampton, Westfield, Hatfield and Hadley were listed by Mottor as having provided mutual aid, as were Pioneer Valley Ambulance and Action Ambulance, although he did not say this was the full list. South Hadley fire could also be seen at the scene.

During the response, Ferry Street from Pepin Avenue to Parsons Street was closed, as was Parsons Street from Everett to Ferry Street, although Easthampton Police Sgt. Dennis Scribner said that they were doing their best to get residents through.

“We were able to shut everything down pretty quickly and get people evacuated,” said Scribner, of the response.

Scribner estimated that the Ferry Street section would be closed for the better part of the evening. Parsons, however, was reopened.




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