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Fire at Cliffside Apartments relocates one person

  • A fire in Cliffside Apartments on Sunday, Aug. 12 at 5:30 p.m. in a downstairs apartment. Sunderland Fire Chief Steven Benjamin said the fire originated in the center of the apartment. Staff Photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • Following the extinguishing of the fire at Cliffside Apartments on Sunday, Aug. 12, fire fighters pull the hose from the inside of the apartment to empty it. Staff Photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • At the fire at Cliffside Apartments in Sunderland on Sunday, mutual aid from Leverett, Hadley, Amherst, Greenfield, Montague Center and South Deerfield fire departments responded and South County Emergency Medical Services responded on scene. Staff Photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • One resident was relocated after a fire at one downstairs apartment of the Cliffside Apartment buildings on Sunday, Aug. 12 at 5:30 p.m. Staff Photo/Melina Bourdeau



Staff Writer
Sunday, August 12, 2018

SUNDERLAND — Though a fire on the first floor of Cliffside Apartments was extinguished quickly, one or residents have been displaced for the time.

A first-floor apartment caught fire at the Amherst Road complex around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. Fire Chief Steven Benjamin said firefighters made a “quick, aggressive attack which put out the fire quickly.”

Benjamin said the fire originated from the center of the apartment. He credited the smoke alarm system for minimal damage to the building.

“The alarm system saved the building. The only thing that would have helped more is if there were a sprinkler system, but when this building was built, that wasn’t a requirement,” Benjamin said.

Residents said they heard the alarm system before evacuating the building.

“I called the fire department and they told me I was the second person who called and they were sending a truck,” said Diane Freniere, an upstairs resident. “Then I left the apartment.”

Another resident, Conor Ursuliak, said when he heard the alarm going off, he left the building with his pets.

“My apartment got smokey,” Ursuliak said. “I’m right above the apartment that was on fire. I’m hoping there isn’t too much damage.”

Resident Doug Snyder said he banged on the door of the apartment that was on fire before going out to his car.

“I banged on the door and there was no one there,” Snyder said. “I didn’t see any flames, but someone else said they saw some and there was smoke coming out of the apartment, so I left. I hope that my apartment doesn’t have a lot of smoke damage.”

Property Manager of Cliffside Apartments Cyndi Danielle said with the exception of one or two residents, she expected residents to return to their apartments by the end of the evening.

“We also have a smoke restoration team on the way,” Danielle said.

The resident in the apartment where the fire began was at the scene and was able to retrieve some belongings before going to a place he was staying for the evening.

Mutual aid on the scene included Leverett, Greenfield, South Deerfield, Hadley, Montague Center, Amherst fire department and South County Emergency Medical Services.

Benjamin said the cause of the fire is under investigation, but it doesn’t appear suspicious.