NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Smoking materials are believed to be the cause of a fire at the American Legion on Saturday night that forced the closure of the club.
A fire was reported as being in the walls of the American Legion Drive structure shortly after 8 p.m. on Saturday. At least two dozen people were evacuated from the building and firefighters were quickly on the scene — the fire station is across the street from the post.
The blaze appeared to be concentrated in the wall of the exit on the north end of the building, where a disposal container for cigarettes is located. Firefighters cut through the wall and up to the ceiling of the one-story building. The fire was considered contained by about 8:30 p.m. but firefighters were still using axes to open up the wall and spraying it with water.
Fire Director Stephen Meranti said the building had to be closed because of smoke and the use of a fire extinguisher. The building was going to be ventilated and the building inspector would determine if it was suitable to reopen.
Patrons, who gathered under nearby trees to avoid the rain, were told they would be allowed back to recover their belongings once some of the smoke was removed.
No one was injured but the north entrance incurred significant damage from the fire and the efforts to contain it.
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