Great Barrington Police Investigating Fatal Crash
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — A Housatonic woman was killed late Sunday morning in a head-on collision near 200 Maple Ave.
Annemarie E. Bushka, 64, was pronounced dead at the scene from injuries incurred in the crash.
Bushka's motor vehicle collided with one driven by Robert Bacigalupi, 68, who police say crossed the yellow line into Bushka's lane.
Bacigalupi, of New York City, was charged with motor vehicle homicide and marked lanes violation. He was taken by ambulance to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield. His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening and will be issued a summons to appear in court at a later date.
The crash occurred at about 11 a.m. and Bushka and Bacigalupi were the only occupants in their vehicles. A portion of the road was closed while rescuers responded to the crash and while the vehicles were towed from the scene. All lanes were reopened once the scene was cleared.
The cause of the crash is under investigation by Great Barrington Police, with the assistance of the State Police.
Chief William Walsh Jr. asks that anyone who may have witnessed the crash call the Great Barrington Police at 413-528-0306.
Great Barrington Firefighters Snuff Kitchen Blaze at Pizzeria
Fire damage was limited to areas on the first floor and a second-floor bathroom.
GREAT BARRINGTON — The Fire Department extinguished a fire at Pizza House on State Road early Tuesday morning that severely damaged the business's kitchen and structure's first floor.
"Our crews did an excellent job limiting the damage despite the challenges posed by this particular structure, which has been a fixture in town for decades," Chief Charles Burger said. "I'm extremely grateful that a tragedy was avoided this morning, and I'm hopeful that Pizza House will be able to rebuild and the residents will be able to return home soon."
Firefighters were dispatched to the 36 State Road business at about 3:30 a.m. for a report of a structure fire with tenants possibly trapped on the floor above.
Upon arrival, firefighters observed heavy fire venting from the first-floor kitchen windows and smoke coming from the remainder of the building. Tenants were able to escape the building prior to firefighters reaching the scene, but there was still some uncertainty about whether or not a second apartment was occupied at the time the fire started.
Firefighters made an aggressive interior attack and conducted a thorough search of the second floor while battling extreme heat and zero visibility inside the building. Their search confirmed that there were no tenants left inside, and crews were able to quickly knock down the flames.
Once the fire was extinguished, firefighters remained on scene to extinguish hot spots. The firefighting effort was complicated by the fact that the building has been renovated and added onto multiple times during its lifespan, creating hidden areas that could potentially allow a fire to extend more easily.
The Fire Department was assisted on scene by police, the Sheffield Fire Department and Southern Berkshire Ambulance.
Fire damage was limited to the first-floor kitchen and a second-floor bathroom, but there is smoke damage throughout the entire building.
Residents in the upstairs apartments suffered from smoke inhalation that is not believed to be serious, and later went to the hospital on their own to seek medical treatment.
Displaced tenants were able to make alternative arrangements for shelter.
An investigation by the Fire Department and State Fire Marshal's Office is pointing to an electrical failure as the cause of the fire.
Great Barrington Fire Uses New UTV to Reach Injured Hiker
The department demonstrates how an injured person can be transported with the new UTV.
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Fire Department used its newly purchased utility task vehicle (UTV) this week to rescue an injured hiker.
Around 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 28, the Fire and Police departments, along with Southern Berkshire Ambulance, responded to Monument Mountain Reservation for a report of a 23-year-old woman with a broken ankle.
First responders were able to use GPS to track her location, which they determined to be a few thousand feet off Indian Mountain Trail, or about a mile-and-a-half into the woods, according to Fire Chief Charles Burger.
Using the Fire Department's new UTV, firefighters trained in technical rescue reached the woman within 15 minutes.
Medics assessed and stabilized her injury before she was loaded into the UTV and taken to the parking lot. Southern Berkshire Ambulance then transported her to an area hospital in stable condition.
In total, 30 rescue personnel responded to the scene, including the Sheffield Fire Department, which stood by with additional all-terrain vehicles. All units were clear from the scene shortly after 10 p.m.
"We were prepared for this situation to go a number of ways, but thankfully it was resolved quickly and successfully," Burger said. "Typically, rescues on the mountain take three or more hours and involve a lot of hiking and rigging of rope rescue systems. Also, given the time of night that this incident occurred, darkness would have greatly complicated matters if it weren't for the UTV."
The Great Barrington Firefighters Association recently purchased the rescue UTV, which has proven to be an asset to the department in its efforts to quickly and safely transport injured people. Wednesday night's incident is the second time this year the UTV was used on a search and rescue incident.
After identifying the serious need for the equipment, the association raised $21,000 to make the purchase at no cost to Great Barrington's taxpayers. It is fully outfitted with skid plates, a roll cage, scene lighting and a rescue body for carrying a patient and equipment. Previously, in a situation like Wednesday night, firefighters would have needed to hike in the whole way and carry the patient out.
"The UTV enables us to operate a lot more safely and efficiently," Burger said. "I would like to thank those who supported our fundraising efforts, along with Lt. AJ Anderson and firefighter Chris Laramee, who put in most of the work for the design and purchase of the unit."
Great Barrington Rescuers Locate Missing 13-Year-Old Boy
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — A 13-year-old special needs child who went missing early Thursday afternoon during a hike was located shortly before 7 p.m.
Police Chief William Walsh and Fire Chief Charles Burger said more than 75 rescuers took part in the search that successfully located the child.
Rescuers responded at 12:15 p.m. to Fountain Pond State Park, a 250-acre park bisected by U.S. Route 7, for a report of a missing hiker. Upon arrival, officials were told that the boy became separated from his group during a hike and could not be located.
Firefighters began a search of approximately 3 miles of trails, but were unable to locate him.
Multiple jurisdictions were summonsed to conduct a thorough search of the area, including:
• Great Barrington Police and Fire Crews
• Great Barrington Police K-9
• K-9 units from Pittsfield and Williamstown
• The Berkshire County Sheriff's Office Dive Team and Mobile Communications Vehicle
• The Massachusetts State Police Airwing, State Police Search and Emergency Response Team
• Berkshire County Mountain Search and Rescue Team
• Massachusetts Environmental Police
• The Sheffield Fire Department
• The Stockbridge Fire Department and Stockbridge Fire Boat
Crews deployed over a wide area. Thankfully, the boy was found shortly before 7 p.m. at the top of a ridge well off the trails. He was found unharmed and in good health. Rescuers reunited him with his parents.
"This was a tremendous team effort that involved dozens of rescuers from many of our neighboring and partner agencies. I am very pleased that so many resources could muster in a short time, resulting in the successful rescue of this young boy," Walsh said.
"Mutual aid is a force multiplier that allows Berkshire County emergency services to greatly increase our effectiveness in times of need. The system showed its value today, and a child was reunited with his family," said Burger.
Great Barrington Fire Douses Blaze at Mill Complex
Embers from burning brush caused the roof of the structure to catch fire.
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Great Barrington Fire Department extinguished a fire at an abandoned mill building on Saturday afternoon, the second fire in a week caused by embers igniting during dry weather.
Just after noon, the department was dispatched for a roof fire behind the Housatonic Fire Station (Great Barrington Station 2), according to Chief Charles Burger.
Crews quickly confirmed that the roof of the abandoned Power House Mill — a 200-foot by 100-foot masonry building with 50-foot ceilings that's part of the Monument Mills complex — was on fire. The building is located at 174 Front St.
Firefighters arrived on scene within minutes and began attacking the fire. The department's 100-foot tower ladder was needed to access the fire because of the height of the building.
The fire was quickly brought under control and contained to the roof of half the structure, and crews cleared the scene by 2:30 p.m. The Stockbridge Fire Department assisted on scene, the Lenox Fire Department sent a Rapid Intervention Team and the Sheffield Fire Department provided station coverage.
An investigation by the Fire Department indicated that the owner of the mill was burning brush about 75 feet from the building and the embers caught the building's roof on fire.
Saturday's fire is the second that occurred in Great Barrington this week. At noon on Monday, April 10, firefighters responded to a porch fire at 18 Sumner St. It was contained to the porch and the house remained inhabitable. An investigation determined that the fire began from a cigarette disposed of in the mulch next to the porch.
"Is it extremely important that community members remember to properly dispose of smoking material and monitor brush fires, especially as we head into warmer, dryer weather," Burger said. "As we've seen this week, anything with embers can easily start a fire."
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