Some seniors in Pittsfield were displaced after a small fire led to big issues in their senior home early Thursday morning. More than a dozen stayed in a shelter until they could get back into their homes. YNN's Madeleine Rivera has the story.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- "I could see them coming in with uniforms and I'm going, huh? And I wasn't fully awake," said Ellen Butler.
It was just after midnight when firefighters started waking up residents at Providence Court.
"You really didn't have time to do much, just gather your belongings and meet downstairs," said Catherine Higgins.
"My first impression was ‘Uh-oh. Are we at war?’" said Butler.
A ceiling light had overheated and caught fire in the fifth floor of the senior home. The sprinklers activated, putting out the fire before it could spread. But it caused extensive water damage on the third and fourth floors.
More than 30 seniors were removed from their apartments. Many were picked up by family members. Fourteen went to a shelter set up at the gym of Reid Middle School.
"The beds were very comfortable. I have to admit. They were very comfortable. I slept like a rock," said Butler.
The American Red Cross and the school cafeteria also gave some food, drinks and even words of comfort.
"We make sure that their loved ones know where they are and that they're safe. And we provide a listening ear to them," said Ellen Patashnick of the American Red Cross.
Small tokens which were well appreciated by the seniors who waited for more than seven hours.
"We've had nice meals here. But I will be glad to get back in my own bed and things get back to normal," said Higgins.
The seniors moved back in Thursday afternoon after an investigation of the building's electrical wires were finished. Pittsfield Housing Authority, which manages the building, said they'll continue the clean up the mess left behind.