Cause of Mill House fire appears accidental

GREENFIELD — The cause of a fire Tuesday night at the Mill House Apartments that displaced about 15 people appears to be accidental, according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office and Greenfield Fire Department.

The fire within the 103-unit apartment building at 75 Wells St. originated in the living room of a three-bedroom apartment on the third floor, fire officials said. The investigation is ongoing, but it appears to be accidental, the State Fire Marshal’s Office said. Fire officials said they are still looking into the precise cause.

At about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night, a fire began in apartment 309. Smoke billowing out from the apartment activated sprinklers in the third floor hallway, causing water damage on the first three floors and smoke damage on the third floor.

Sprinklers in the hallways helped contain the fire until the Greenfield Fire Department arrived to extinguish it, fire officials said.

There were two sprinkler heads, which activated outside the apartment where the fire originated.

“Had the sprinklers not controlled the fire, most certainly the fire damage and the amount of water the Fire Department would have used to extinguish it would have been significantly worse,” stated Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan in a press release.

However, the damage could have been contained to the single apartment if each apartment had its own sprinkler system, Coan added.

About 100 firefighters from across Franklin County responded to knock down the fire in 15 minutes. The Red Cross also responded to provide food and water to residents and firefighters.

As a result of the water and smoke damage, residents living in 15 apartments are staying at the Quality Inn temporarily.

The residents’ length of stay at the Mohawk Trail hotel is unknown. The Quality Inn is still housing some of the residents and has not heard how long it would continue to do so. Greenfield Fire Chief Robert Strahan said he did not know how long it would take for residents to move back home. Property Manager Nancy Bannister could not be reached for comment.

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