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Pitcher's Mound A Smoke-Filled Bar

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — An electrical fire on Friday morning will close the Pitcher's Mound this weekend.

"There was a lot of smoke and we're going to have to have it professionally cleaned up," said co-owner Jack Rivard. "It could have been a lot worse. The Fire Department did a terrific job."

Firefighters responded to the report of a fire at about 11 a.m. and quickly contained it. The fire was contained quickly but spread smoke through the building at the corner of Porter and Ashland streets. The fire was reportedly caused by a bad condenser on a beer cooler in the basement.

Repairs to the electrical system will also have to be done. Rivard expected the pub to be closed for "two to three days" to make repairs.

Updated on Jan. 31, 2011.

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Cariddi Auto Sales Burns

Andy McKeever

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Curran Highway was shut down for hours Thursday night as firefighters battled a massive blaze at Cariddi Auto Sales.

Flames could be seen shooting through the roof as city firefighters fought freezing temperatures to extinguish the fire.

The nearby hydrants were frozen and tanker trucks from Adams, Clarksburg and Florida shuttled in water. The regulators were freezing and had to be thawed by a propane heater. The hoses needed constant water being pushed through to avoid freezing.

Adams also provided it's air-pack truck and Clarksburg covered the North Adams station.

"It was a real tough one to fight," said Fire Director Stephen Meranti. "The regulators were freezing, the lines were freezing, the men were freezing."

One firefighter was taken to North Adams Regional Hospital with smoke inhalation and another was taken for a shoulder injury.

Meranti said it is too early to tell what caused the fire but it began in the roof at the center of the building. The dealership used to be a carwash and had multiple layers of roofing that hindered the firefighter's efforts, Meranti said.

The south side of the building remains mostly intact but the north side is a total loss, Meranti said.

"There were some flammable substances in the building that we were concerned about," Meranti said.

Firefighters cut through the roof to get at the fire and heavy smoke continued to billow out until 11 p.m. The building will be monitored through the night for hot spots.

Mayor Richard Alcombright said firefighters responded to the fire at shortly after 7 p.m. National Grid arrived on the scene at about 8 p.m. to turn off the power.

State Street was closed off at the intersection with Main Street. Police were allowing limited access to the area. Traffic was also being detoured at Hodges Cross Road. Firefighters left the scene just after 11 p.m. and the road was reopened.

The fire gave the North Adams Ambulance Service its first chance to deploy its new rehab trailer. A tent with a propane heater for emergency personnel to treat firefighters and provide a central meeting spot, warmth and refreshments, was attached to the medical trailer.

"This is the first deployment of the rehab trailer. It's been in the works for a couple of months," North Adams Ambulance Safety Officer Amalio Jusino said. "We had the trailer for some time and we just decided to get creative and see if we can be more helpful to the fire department."

Jusino and Lt. Lynn Richardson manned the trailer all evening, taking vital signs and examining firefighters.

"Being proactive is better than being reactive," Jusino said.

The rehab trailer is designed for both winter and summer conditions and complies with the National Fire Protection Agency standards. The service is looking to purchasing a misting fan for the summer.

Cariddi Sales is a small dealership of used autos across from the intersection of the highway and Old State Street, just north of Walmart at 676 Curran Highway. Its hours of operation on weekdays is until 5:30; it's not clear if anyone was on the site at the time of the fire.

The property has been owned by Guy R. Cariddi since at least 1984, when he and his father, the late Francis Cariddi, bought out Ralph Cariddi and Robert Bissaillon, who had been in partnership with Francis Cariddi, according to the Registry of Deeds.

The property has a two-bay service garage and office. The dealership also offers autobody work, towing and service. The cars in the yard have not been removed. 


A fire at Cariddi Auto Sales destroyed the office and service garage on Thursday night. At least one firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation as emergency crews battled the blaze in freezing temperatures.
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Stolen Property Being Returned to Owners

Staff Reports

LENOX, Mass. — The items held as evidence in the case against burglary kingpin Stefan Veremko are being released to their owners.

The Lenox Police Department has been holding hundreds of items seized in November 2009 from Veremko's home, vehicle and areas where he had discarded the property. Veremko's monthslong spree across three states ended when an off-duty officer spotted him fleeing a building - with a pillowcase. 

Multiple police agencies were investigating the break-ins, which stretched from Southern Vermont to South County. As a result, Veremko and accomplice Tara Malloy were arrested. The recent conclusion of the case convicting Veremko and giving him five- to seven-year state prison sentence allows police the opportunity to return the seized evidence to the many victims involved with this case, said Chief Stephen E. O'Brien.

Many people came to the Lenox Town Hall on Nov. 19, 2009, to view the vast array of items. Some were able to identify items that indeed belonged to them. While conducting this process, during the exit interview, these victims were asked to provide a phone number at which they could be reached at the conclusion of the case.

Within the next several days, the victims who identified property will be receiving a call from the Lenox Police to arrange for the release of their property. All of the property that was identified will be returned to its rightful owner. For victims from the states of Vermont and New York, their property will be released to the police agency having jurisdiction over the crime. The out-of-state agency will make a determination if that property may be released or if it will remain held pending future criminal action against Veremko and Malloy in their states.

"We are asking for everyone's patience as we attempt to relinquish property in an orderly fashion to be certain that each and every victim recoups their loss," said O'Brien. "We also thank everyone involved for their patience as this case made its way through the criminal court system."

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Bedroom Blaze Snuffed Out

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters swiftly knocked down a second-floor fire at a home on Goodrich Street shortly before noon on Wednesday. The cause of the blaze had not been determined by early this afternoon.

"We thought it might have gotten into to the attic space but we were able to contain it pretty quickly," said Fire Director Stephen Meranti, who credited firefighters' swift response with preventing its spread. "The guys did a great job."

Smoke was seen coming out of a second-story bedroom on the south side of the building by Postal carrier David Ghidotti, who was delivering mail along his route, said Meranti. He said Ghidotti's immediate reporting of the smoke likely helped prevent the fire from spreading.

The fire director said smoke could be seen coming from the windows on arrival; all off-duty firefighters were called in, Adams responded with the Scot AirPak truck and Clarksburg went on standby.

The fire damage was contained to the bedroom and closet area, although the second story suffered smoke damage and the first floor water damage. Firefighters mitigated some of the first floor damage by pulling tarps over the furniture.

The large white house had been split into apartments at one point but is now being occupied as a single-family home. It is owned by Kenneth and Kristi Cooper.

Meranti said the Coopers would not be able to stay in the house Wednesday because power and utilities had been shut off. The health inspector was to inspect the building to see if it could be occupied.

Firefighters were still on the scene several hours after the blaze was snuffed, waiting for a fire marshal to arrive. Meranti said he had requested the marshal to help determine the cause.

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Hinsdale Snuffs Out Mobile Home Blaze

Staff Reports

A heater located underneath a mobile home is suspected as the cause of a fire on Monday night.

The Hinsdale Volunteer Fire Department responded in last night's bitter cold temperatures to a reported house fire at 8:19 p.m. Arriving firefighters were confronted with a fire in the crawl space underneath a mobile home at 9 Alice Drive occupied by the Reed family.

Significant fire damage was contained to the area under the home and there was light smoke damage to the interior of the building. The fire was under control within 15 minutes.

Fire Chief Larry Turner said the probable cause was the use of a propane heater underneath the dwelling.

A female resident of the home who re-entered the building to retrieve family pets before firefighters arrived was evaluated and treated at the scene for the affects of smoke by Hinsdale Ambulance staff.

Firefighters from the Peru and Becket volunteer fire departments assisted Hinsdale at the scene while Dalton firefighters provided standby coverage at the Hinsdale Fire Station.

Information provided by the Hinsdale Volunteer Fire Department.

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