The former home of Hello Holyoke, 188 Chestnut Street, went up in flames early this morning. The call came over the scanner after 2:00 AM, "a fire in the vicinity Appleton and Chestnut Streets". The police arrived first and reported the back porch was burning at 188 Chestnut. They quickly attempted an evacuation of the house, but couldn't venture to the 3rd floor because of the smoke.
It appeared everyone made it out safely when I arrived. The scene was mostly white smoke with a hint flames. The fire dept was running hoses inside the house, and venting heat from the outside.
I ran into my photography friend Jeff Byrnes, and his studio partner Tim Lastowski. We talked for a bit as Jeff tried in vain to ring up the Republican newsroom. He wanted to sell them his photos but nobody was in.
The fire looked to be under control, and I was getting ready to leave when the smoke got dark and ugly. Suddenly the Firemen were evacuating the building. Within a few short minutes the fire flared out of control. You could feel the heat on your face. It was familiar sensation that brought back memories of other fires.
As soon as I saw the black smoke I started recording video. The siren blast you hear is a signal to evacuate the structure.
When I walked around the block again to look down the back alley some man in a vintage red English roadster was in the parking lot of the SEC school. He must of mistook me for a reporter as he made the insinuation that they (Fire Dept) let it burn. I assured him that it simply got out of control, but he nodded knowingly, and said they wanted it to burn. Again I assured him telling him I had it all on video, but he just waved, and drove off. For some reason this behavior really irked me.
After another walk around the block I was feeling very sleepy, it was 4:00 AM. I said bye to Jeff and Tim, and headed back to my car. On the way I ran into School Committee member Barry Conway of all people. He was driving by and asked me where the fire was. It had become both foggy, and smoky. You couldn't tell where the fire was in the neighborhood but for the water rushing down the street carrying bits of flotsam, and jetsam with it.
I didn't know who Barry was at first, I never met him before, but boy can the guy talk. When he introduced himself to me I said "Hey! Your that guy who didn't get enough signatures". Since he talked me ear off, I gave him a hard time about his papers. It was a fair trade, and he took it with good spirits.
The fire was still burning when I finally left. It's probably a total loss. What a shame. It was such a beautiful old Victorian.
Easthampton study shows no adults outside package store willing to buy booze for teens - As part of the survey, teens approached 26 customers outside a package store and asked if they would buy beer for them. All 26 said no.
3 hours ago