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Pittsfield Firefighters Snuff Out Attic Fire On Dawes Ave.

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters snuffed out an attic fire on Dawes Avenue Tuesday night.
According to Deputy Fire Chief Andrew Stephenson, firefighters were called to 53 Dawes Avenue at about 10:30. Upon arrival a small fire was located in the attic and a man was injured.
"One occupant burned his hands trying to control the fire. He sought medical attention," Stephenson wrote in a report on the incident. 
The fire was apparently caused by "improper disposal of a cigarette" and one room, which was used for storage, was damaged. However, the home is likely habitable, Stephenson said, depending on inspections on Wednesday. 
"The fire was brought under control and extinguished shortly after arrival by fire crews," Stephenson wrote.
The man who was injured sought medical attention from County Ambulance on scene but ultimately provided his own transportation to the hospital. The house is occupied by three people, all of whom found alternative housing Tuesday night. No firefighters were injured in response. 

Pittsfield Firefighters Quickly Knock Down Fires in Two Apartments

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — City firefighters were busy Wednesday morning with two fires.

Crews were called to Worthington Street for a structure fire. While there, another call came in about a fire on Fenn Street.

Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Noyes said the call came in shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday about a fire at three-family building on Worthingston Street. Upon arrival, smoke could be seen coming out of a second floor window, and crews found a small fire in a bedroom of the second-floor apartment.

Noyes said they were able to get the fire under control within about 10 minutes.

"We're just waiting for the investigators," he said.

The Red Cross has been called to assist the four people who live in the second floor, which is currently unusable, as well as the eight people in the first-floor apartment, which sustained water damage, Noyes said. The third floor was not affected.

While crews were assessing the Worthington situation, a call came in about a fire on Fenn Street.

Chief Robert Czerwinski, on the scene of that fire, said firefighters responded to 458 Fenn St. for a fire on the stove of the second floor apartment in the multi-family home. By the time they arrived, the occupant had extinguished the fire.

"Everybody's out, everybody's safe," Czerwinski said, adding that the damage was "mostly cosmetic" and the occupants - a man and his daughter - would not be displaced for long, if at all.

Czerwinski and Noyes said the Fire Department was able to successfully manage the back-to-back calls.

"We had to split up some crews," Czerwinski said, adding that two engine companies had still been in service when the second call came.

Noyes said there was a minor delay for a company to get to Fenn Street because it was at Worthington but it didn't have any impact.

"Luckily we were able to knock both fires down quickly," he said.


Pittsfield Fire Damages Montgomery Avenue Duplex

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

Next door neighbor Tony Paredes snapped this photo of the flames bursting through the windows. 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Several pets were killed when a fire erupted on the first floor of a duplex on Montgomery Avenue shortly after noontime on Tuesday.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated but appears to be limited mostly to 7 Montgomery Ave. The 9 Montgomery Ave. side suffered "significant smoke damage." 

Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Noyes said the department responded to the report of a structure fire and firefighters arriving on scene could see smoke coming out the building.

A least three windows were blown out by the blaze. Next door neighbor Tony Paredes said the fire expanded quickly. He said he heard a scream and in moments flames burst through the smoke-filled structure's windows.

The fire was contained fairly swiftly with the flames extinguished well before 1 p.m. but there were worries it might have spread through the structure.

"We were a little concerned when we saw smoke coming out of a vent from the basement area," Noyes said.

"Shortly after we had a line to the main body, we sent a crew to the basement. ... That's always a challenge if you have a possible basement fire ... but it turned out to be a little fire."

Everyone was out of the building by the time firefighters arrived. There were a number of pets, however, that apparently succumbed to the fire, including cats, although a snake was saved.

The building and health inspectors are currently evaluating the structure.

"The left side of the duplex has got heavy fire damage in the front room and in the basement," Noyes said. "There is heavy smoke damage throughout the building and some water damage.

"The right side has significant smoke damage, not any water damage, no fire damage that I can see."

According to land records, the home is owned by Melissa Gallagher and Sara Hollander. 



Early Morning Fire Damages Merriam Street Residence

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A second floor porch of a Merriam Street home sustained extensive damage in an early morning fire on Monday.

The Pittsfield Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire at 75 Merriam St. at 3 a.m. Monday. Upon arrival, firefighters reported fire showing on the front porch of the second floor apartment but were quickly able to knock it down.

Minor damage was found on the inside of the second floor apartment and the building sustained minor water and smoke damage.

There were no injuries reported. The cause of the fire is undetermined.



2nd Man Charged With Murder in 2014 Big Y Parking Lot Shooting

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A city man has man is facing murder charges related to the shooting of a Goshen man in 2014.
Laquan Johnson, 20, was arraigned on single counts of murder, armed assault with intent to rob, and illegal possession of a firearm. He had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf and was ordered by Judge Paul Smyth to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail.
Johnson is accused of shooting Anthony Gamache, 29, of Goshen on Nov. 18, 2014. Gamache died the following day at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton. 
Dr. Henry Nields, the chief medical examiner for the state, said Gamache died because of a blood clot caused by a gunshot wound to the leg. 
According to reports at the time, Gamache was with friends in the Big Y parking lot waiting for an alleged drug deal when he was shot. He was driven to Cooley Dickinson and the transferred to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. After returning home, Gamache felt pain in his leg and was transported back to Cooley Dickinson, where he died.
Peter Campbell, who was then 18, was arrested shortly after the shooting and charged with second-degree murder, two counts of armed assault with intent to rob, and single counts of possession of a handgun during the commission of a felony and illegal possession of a firearm. He was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the charges that December.
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