North Adams Apartment Blaze Doused; West Main Closed
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters quickly knocked down fire in a storage area at a West Main Street apartment building on Thursday.
Fire Director Stephen Meranti said only one tenant was in the building and he was quickly evacuated.
Meranti said the Fire Department arrived at 75 West Main St around 2:30 p.m. after receiving a report of smoke coming out of a second-story window. It was initially described as a structure fire.
"The guys got on scene, and they saw smoke," he said. "We had smoke coming from the bedroom window on the second floor. ...
"The guys went in, found the tenant and escorted him out," he said. "He was OK. He was just trying to put the fire out with a portable extinguisher."
Meranti said a pre-connected hose was weaved through a room, a bedroom and into the storage room on the eastern side of the flat-iron building where the fire broke out. Firefighters tossed items out of the window to get to the fire.
"It was contained in that one room, and the stuff was not really that burned," he said. "We just had to get down to where it was burning."
Meranti said power had to be shut off to the apartment and to the one below it because water had to be used to extinguish the fire. He said an electrician will have to come in and inspect the apartments before the tenants can occupy them.
Meranti said all in all the fire was contained and knocked down quickly.
The guys did a good job," he said. "Early detection, quick response and aggressive interior attack. That is how you keep a small fire small."
He said the cause of the fire is still under investigation. The road was closed from the east end of the Memorial Bridge to Brown Street for more than an hour.
North Adams Police and Ambulance were on scene as well as the Wire and Alarm Division and Berkshire Gas. The building is owned by Charles Swabey.
Meranti added that at the same time, there was a one-car accident on Pattison Road that resulted in no injuries. All off-duty firefighters were called in to assist.
North Adams Police Seeking Information on Break-Ins
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Police Department is asking for assistance in investigating a number of break-ins in the Church Street area after another home was robbed Tuesday afternoon.
According to the department, it is working closely with the campus police at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Campus Police on multiple reports of homes burglarized in the areas around Church Street and Ashland Street.
"We would like to reach out to anyone who lives in the area that may have seen our possible suspects or who has video surveillance on their home," the department requested on its Facebook page.
The suspect or suspects may have been carrying televisions, monitors or computers.
On Tuesday, money and two televisions were taken from a home between noon and 1 p.m.
Two individuals possibly involved are described as white men standing 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-9. One was wearing dark jeans, dark long-sleeve shirt and a ball cap. The second was wearing orange or red shorts and a white T-shirt, and had facial stubble and blonde or red hair with a recent close crew cut.
They were last seen running in the area of Hoosac Hall at MCLA off Highland Avenue.
There was a separate report of a home having been entered on Elmwood Avenue sometime between Aug. 17 and Aug. 18 when a television was taken.
Police are asking homeowners to not publicly disclose that they have knowledge of the incidents or that they may have footage of the individuals but to contact the North Adams Police Department and request to speak with an officer.
North Adams Firefighters Rescue Man From Gorge
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters rescued a 21-year-old man Thursday night who became trapped in a gorge at Natural Bridge State Park.
Taylor Sheldon of North Adams had been swimming with friends at the park when the group headed back up toward where their car was parked at the Franklin Street gate. Sheldon, however, climbed up through a waterfall and became separated from the group, said Officer Kyle Cahoon.
The found him nearly an hour later stuck in the dark in the rushing water at the bottom of the 60-foot gorge. He couldn't make his way back down in the dark and couldn't get out from the top.
Firefighter Matthew Davis took the lead in the rescue as a member of the Western Massachusetts Regional Technical Rescue Team. Fire Director Stephen Meranti said the other firefighters were also trained in rope rescue at an operational level.
A harnessed Davis worked his way through the bushes at the top of the gorge down to spot where he could speak to Sheldon as other first-responders watched from the bridge over the chasm.
There was difficulty in communicating with Sheldon over the roar of the water and flashlights were used to help orient him toward Davis.
"Down in gorge, it's not conducive to sound to begin with plus the water, it amplifies and echoes in there," said Sgt. James Burdick.
Two cruisers were turned to put headlights on the area so the rescue team could see to gear up. Sheldon was dropped a harness to put on to aid in the rescue and a ladder was lowered down to him.
"You want to pick the safest way to pull him out of there and it really was by ladder," Meranti said. "You lower the ladder down and let him climb up ... if he was unconscious or anything like that we would have put him in a Stokes basket and use a really intricate hauling system get him out of there."
Sheldon was alert and conscious able to climb up the ladder. But he was chilled from standing in the water for nearly two hours.
He was, however, released to family after being checked out by emergency medical technicians.
"It worked great with the police officers here, the ambulance EMTs were right in with us," said Meranti. "Everybody worked well together."
Williamstown Motorcyclist Struck by Dump Truck
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A Williamstown man was transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield on Tuesday evening after a two-vehicle collision on Curran Highway (Route 8) near Hodges Cross Road, police said.
Matthew Wilson, 24, was taken by North Adams Ambulance Service to Pittsfield after his motorcycle was struck by a dump truck driven by a New York man, according to Police Sgt. Jason Wood.
Wilson, who was aboard a 2015 Honda CBR, was traveling south, as was the 2000 Ford F450 driven by John Williams Jr. of Troy, N.Y., Wood said.
"[Williams] stated that he was looking to turn into Walmart," Wood said. "He missed that [right hand turn] and then made an abrupt left toward Hodges Cross Road, hitting the motorcycle, which at that point was roughly parallel.”
Williams initially was cited for an unsafe lane change, Wood said. After further investigation, he was arrested and charged with unlawful operation of a motor vehicle, operating with a suspended license in Massachusetts, failure to use care when turning and an unsafe lane change.
Williams was released later Tuesday evening by the Clerk of the Courts, Wood said.
Wood said police have yet to determine the owner of the Ford dump truck, which bore paper license plates from New York.
Both the truck and motorcycle were removed from the scene by Dean's Quality Auto and Truck.
The initial call reporting the accident was received by North Adams Police at 7:18 p.m., Wood said. The North Adams Fire Department and Adams Police Department assisted at the scene.
Truck Pulls Down Tree Limb on North Adams' Church Street
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A tractor-trailer truck heading north on Church Street took down two tree limbs and cable wires when the tree became entangled with the cab's wind deflector.
The incident occurred shortly after noontime in front of the Wilkinson House at 164 Church St. The large limb broke off the tree and pulled down telephone and cable wires, including those connected to the Flood House across the street. No electrical wires were touched and no electricity lost.
"It took down the telephone and the cable lines," said Fire Lt. Michael Sherman. "He was a smart guy ... he stayed right in the cabin truck. He wouldn't get out until he was sure there was no electricity going. He was very smart."
Sherman said the city yard would clean up the tree debris. The large limb is about 20 feet long and broke off the trunk; another smaller limb was also damaged and will have to be removed. The truck is an RL Carriers vehicle. It was able to be driven away.
The street was closed briefly between Pleasant and Quincy streets to allow for cleanup.