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North Adams Firefighters Save Home From Garage Fire

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A chicken incubator is suspected as the cause of a devastating fire that destroyed a two-car garage and threatened a nearby home on Monday evening. 
 
Firefighters were able to save the home at 1664 South Church St. owned by Paul and Diane Lesure but the garage is a total loss.
 
Acting Fire Lt. Matt Labonte said the garage was fully involved upon arrival. "So we made our intentions on cooling down the house," he said. "The house was on fire on the back side so we made our hose lines to the house so nothing got inside." 
 
The Dutch-style garage had a full second story that had caved in within a half hour or so of the first calls at around 6 p.m. No one was home at the time and the owners came home to find the blaze already going. They were able to get their dog out of the house. 
 
"It first came in as a garage fire in back of McCann School. We got a few calls confirming it on the way here," Fire Director Stephen Meranti said, adding that the focus was on limiting fire damage to the single-family home and then containing the garage blaze. 
 
"He had a lot of equipment in there, motorcycles in there, a lot of stuff," he said. "We had guys working in both directions to keep it from spreading."
 
The blaze melted the vinyl siding off the north side and the back of the home and charring could be seen in the rear exterior. The ground was burned around the garage, which was separate from the house and set slightly back on the north side. All that was left of the garage was a pile of twisted metal and debris. 
 
Loud pops could be heard as canisters of fuel or other materials exploded in the conflagration. The house is on the hillside just north of the Adams line but black smoke could be seen billowing from the blaze from the downtown. 
 
Meranti said the cause has yet to be officially determined but he was leaning toward the incubator lamp because there was no other heat source in the building. It contained a woodstove but that hadn't been used in a while. 
 
The Fire Department ran into some trouble with a hydrant located directly in front of the property. Meranti said there was a pressure issue and the Water Department was looking into it. 
 
Firefighters were planning on a fire watch through the night in case the pile or house reignited. The power was shut off and the family was planning to go elsewhere for the night. North Adams Ambulance Service, Wire & Alarm, National Grid, and police also responded to the scene.
 
There was also a problem with spectators stopping on the road to watch the fire. The road is narrow with little room to pull off and the property was on a hill making access difficult. There was a lot of traffic at the time and those parking along the side made it difficult for the fire trucks to get in. Police shut down that section of road from Wheel Estates to the city line and began turning vehicles around. 
 
"There were a lot of spectators here. We would really appreciate it if they would stay clear of the scene," Meranti said. "We had issues getting apparatus in because there were so many people parking to watch on both sides of the road. ... We need people to stay clear just keep on going."
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Superior Court Briefs: April 11 - April 18

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Wednesday, April 11.
 
Josaiah Bynum, 20, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of armed assault with intent to murder, and single counts of illegal possession of a firearm, and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building.
 
He was released on $5,000 bail. The charges stem from an incident in Pittsfield on October 2, 2017. He is accused of attempting to hard a 38-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman.
 
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Thursday, April 12.
 
Vivian Guillotte, 41, of North Adams pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, and possession of tramadol.
 
She was placed on one-year probation on the possession of cocaine with intent to distribute charge. The other one was placed on file.
 
The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on Guillotte's home on Chase Avenue on June 29, 2017.
 
A single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws was dismissed by the state.
 
Luis Carmona, 39, of North Adams pleaded guilty to a single count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
 
His case was continued without a finding for one year. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on Chase Avenue on June 29, 2017.
 
A single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws was dismissed by the state.
 
Cases heard before Judge Paul Smyth on Tuesday, April 17.
 
Michael Boulais, 32, of Hinsdale entered a not guilty plea on a single count of murder.
 
Boulais is accused of shooting his estranged girlfriend Kassedi Clark, 24, whose body was found inside a vehicle on Ashmere Drive on Friday, April 13, 2018. 
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail.
 
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday, April 17.
 
Frank Rocco, 32, of Lee had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of trafficking in heroin, conspiracy to violate drug laws, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
 
He was released on $3,500 bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on Rocco's home on February 18, 2018.
 
William Ellsworth, 39, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute - his second offense -, and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute - his second offense - in connection with a motor vehicle stop on July 20, 2017. He also pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute - his second offense - and possession of ammunition without a firearm identification care in connection with the execution of a search warrant on his home on March 2, 2018.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent four to five years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the drug charges. He was given concurrent time at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the ammunition charge.
 
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Wednesday, April 18.
 
Scott Kearin, 31, of Lee had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws and a single count of trafficking in heroin.
 
He was released on $7,500 bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on Chapel Street in Lee on February 18, 2018.
 
Autumn Leon, 24, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on single counts of trafficking in heroin, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, illegal ownership of a firearm, improper storage of a firearm, and possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card.
 
She was released on personal recognizance. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant in Lanesborough on February 15, 2018.
 
Jaime Marby, 39, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on six counts of receiving stolen property over $250, and single counts of breaking and entering and larceny over $250.
 
She was released on personal recognizance. Marby is accused of breaking into a home in Hinsdale on March 8, 2016 and being in possession of stolen propery on January 16, 2018.
 
John McGee, 36, of Quincy had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
 
He was released on $1,500 bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at 253 Wahconah Street in Pittsfield on February 2, 2018.
 
Jonathan Rice, 30, of Lee had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on five counts of distribution of heroin and a single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. Rice is accused of selling heroin on December 8, 2017, December 12, 2017, December 21, 2017, January 15, 2018, and February 6, 2018 and conspiring with others to sell the drug between December 6, 2017 and February 18, 2018.
 
Carlos Sanchez-Rios, 23, of Holyoke had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws and a single count of trafficking in heroin.
 
He was released on $10,000 bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Lee on February 18, 2018.
 
Robert Allen Scutt Jr., 28, of North Adams had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
 
He was released on $1,000 bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant in Lanesborough on February 15, 2018.
 
Tammy Zdon, 46, of North Adams had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on single counts of involuntary manslaughter and caretaker abuse on an elder.
 
She was released on personal recognizance. Zdon is alleged to be the caretaker of 72-year-old John Zdon, who died on August 28, 2016.
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North Adams Businesses Warned of Multiple Break-Ins

Staff Reports

This image of the suspect was taken off a security camera Friday morning. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Police are warning Main Street business owners about a series of break-ins that have occurred over the past few days. 
 
Moulton's Spectacle Shoppe was broken into sometime Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning through the Main Street door with the burglar making off with cash and checks. About 1 a.m. on Friday, an individual broke into the Registry of Motor Vehicles and Berkshire Photography & Printing in the Berkshire Plaza. Nothing was taken from the RMV but clothing was stolen from Berkshire Printing. 
 
The suspect, described as a tall, thin black man, was wearing a parka with a furred-edge hood when captured by security cameras on Friday morning. He is believed to be using a pry bar to open doors and appears to have attempted entry into other locations. 
 
The incidents are still under investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact North Adams Police at 413-662-3105, Ext. 4210. 
 
In the meantime, police are recommending downtown business owners secure all their doors; make sure surveillance systems are active and time/date stamps are correct and active; lock up valuables; alert police and neighboring businesses if you see something out of the ordinary, such as doors being tampered with.
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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.
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Hinsdale Man Charged With Murdering Estranged Girlfriend

Update on April 15: The preliminary results of an autopsy on 24-year-old Kassedi Clark indicate she died from
multiple gunshot wounds.
 
Dr. Robert Welton, an associate medical examiner for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, conducted the autopsy on Clark on Sunday in Holyoke and has ruled the death a homicide.
 
Clark's estranged boyfriend, Michael S. Boulais, 32, is expected to be arraigned on a charge of murder on Tuesday in Central Berkshire District Court. 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Hinsdale man has been charged with murder in connection with the death of his estranged girlfriend.

 
Michael S. Boulais, 32, was arrested and charged Friday morning with one count of murder in the death of 24-year-old Kassedi Clark.
 
Hinsdale Police received a 911 call at approximately 8:30 on Friday morning reporting a possible shooting at 53 Ashmere Drive, Hinsdale. When officers arrived on the scene, they found Clark's body inside a vehicle on the property. 
 
An autopsy, to determine Clark's cause of death, will be conducted at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Holyoke on Sunday.
 
Boulais is expected to be arraigned on the murder charge Tuesday morning in Central Berkshire District Court. He is being held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without the right to bail pending his arraignment.
 
Investigators believe the shooting was an isolated incident and do not believe others in the area are in any immediate danger.
 
Case workers from the Department of Children and Families were contacted to provide assistance to the children who resided at the residence.
 
Clark attended Taconic High School and was studying to be a nurse, with an interest in becoming a midwife, according to her Facebook profile.
 
The investigation is being conducted by state troopers assigned to the district attorney's office, members of the Hinsdale and Dalton police departments, the Berkshire County sheriff's department, state troopers assigned to the Cheshire barracks, State Police Crime Scene Services and Ballistics Sections and forensic scientists assigned to the State Police Crime Laboratory.
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