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Fire Guts Burke Avenue Home In Pittsfield

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A family of five was displaced Sunday night after a fire gutted their Burke Street home.
 
Just before 6 p.m. on Sunday, dispatch received multiple calls of flames shooting out of the front of a duplex at 125 Burke Ave. Shortly after firefighters arrived, the windows on the second floor blew out and the fire quickly spread throughout the interior of the home.
 
"We started deploying hand streams and by the time we were getting in position, the second-floor window in the back of the building, or what we call the C side, blew out and the second floor flashed over," Deputy Fire Chief Matt Noyes said.
 
"From there, it just kind of took off through the house."
 
The duplex was occupied by the same family and none of the residents were harmed. At least three were inside the building at the time and were able to escape. However, the family dog died and a cat is still missing. 
 
"It is pretty well gutted. Structurally it is still sound but the contents of the first and second floor are destroyed. They also lost a family dog and we have a cat that is missing," Noyes said.
 
Two of the family members were transported to Berkshire Medical Center. According to Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski, one woman had a pre-existing medical condition and she was transported for precautionary measures and another family member reported difficulty breathing. Noyes said a firefighter was also transported for a knee injury.
 
The family is now working with the Red Cross.
 
Noyes said when Engine 5 first arrived, it found flames spreading quickly on the first floor. When Noyes arrived, he called in a second alarm, bringing all on-duty firefighters to the scene. 
 
"Immediately when I got on scene, I saw the volume of fire and I made it double [alarm] which gives you everybody we have, which is 18 guys," Noyes said.
 
An engine company from Lenox covered Pittsfield's headquarters, Dalton sent a ladder company to the scene, and Hinsdale provided rehab. 
 
Noyes said the firefighters had a little difficulty getting access to water, running a line a good distance from the hydrant.
 
Once on scene, a crew took a hand line to the fire while others got into position to attack it from the rear. But, just as the firefighters shut down the front line and prepared to go in the back, the windows blew out.
 
"We had fire blowing out of the front of the building. We set up to go in the back, there is a sliding door, we wanted to come in and push it out the front of the building. It was growing rapidly and we had an alarm company that was here grab a line and hit it quickly,"
 
From then on, all on the scene were busy combating a significant amount of flames. Noyes said once the department was able to get in, the fire was knocked down quickly.
 
"They battled. Once we were able to get in there, they put the fire out quickly. There was so much fire, such a large volume of fire, we had all of our crews working. They worked hard. They battled hard. They put it out quickly but it was going pretty good before we got here," Noyes said.
 
Fire Inspectors responded to the scene but have not yet determined a cause of the fire.


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Superior Court Briefs: Feb. 23

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Friday, February 23.
 
Bruce Lee Trudeau, 41, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single count of breaking and entering in the daytime and assault and battery related to breaking into a home and assaulting a 29-year-old woman on June 26, 2016. He also pleaded guilty to single counts of breaking and entering in the daytime, conspiracy, misleading a police officer, larceny from a building, wanton destruction of property and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license relating to a house break in Hancock on May 9, 2017. He pleaded guilty to single counts of breaking and entering a home in the daytime, and larceny from a building in connection with a house break in Pittsfield on October 16, 2017.
 
He was ordered to serve four to six years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the breaking and entering, and conspiracy charges. He was given a concurrent one-year sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the other charges.
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Missing Clarksburg Woman's Body Found in Hatfield

Staff Reports
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The human remains discovered in Hatfield on Tuesday have been identified as those of Joanne Ringer, who went missing almost exactly a year ago.
 
Ringer, 39, was last seen at her home on Hall's Ground in Clarksburg on March 2, but never showed up at her new job driving a taxi in Easthampton. Her green 1999 Volkswagen Jetta was discovered on Exeter Street in Easthampton four days later. 
 
Her husband, Charles "Chad" Reidy, was the sole suspect in her disappearance. He killed himself and was found dead in their garage on April 7. 
 
Ringer's body was found in a remote wooded area of Hatfield on Tuesday evening and removed the next day.
 
Dr. Kathleen Crowley, a forensic odonatologist at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Boston, made a positive identification from Ringer's dental records. Crowley was assisted by Dr. James Pokines, a forensic anthropologist, also assigned to the Boston Office of the Medical Examiner. The identification was made late Thursday afternoon. 
 
"From the beginning, we have suspected foul play and have approached this as a homicide investigation and we have considered Joanne's husband, Chad Reidy, as the sole suspect," Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless said a press conference in Northern Berkshire District Court on last year. "Reidy's apparent suicide on April 7 has not changed that view."
 
However, Laura J. Reilly, 42, of Berkeley Street, Easthampton, described as Reidy's former girlfriend, was arraigned last April on three counts of misleading investigators, an obstruction of justice, in providing erroneous information during the investigation of Ringer's disappearance.  
 
Ringer's car had been found less than a half-mile from Reilly's address. 
 
Capeless unexpectedly announced his retirement on Thursday morning, paving the way for one of his assistant DAs to be appointed to his post so he could run as an incumbent in November's election. The timing of the announcement, so close to the discovery of the body, had a number of Springfield area media openly speculating that it would be focused on the Ringer case. 
 
On Thursday, Capeless said the timing was a "coincidence" and that his retirement announcement had been planned a long time in advance and that the Ringer family had been told privately what it was regarding. 
 
Ringer's body was positively identified late Thursday afternoon and the media notified shortly before 8 p.m.
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Superior Court Briefs: Feb. 20 - Feb. 22

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, February 20.
 
J.C. Chadwell, 39, of Pittsfield entered not guilty pleas on single counts of murder in the first degree and illegal possession of a firearm.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without the right to bail. Chadwell is accused of shooting Paul Henry, 39, of Pittsfield on July 4, 2017.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, February 21.
 
Joshua Luczynski, 34, of North Adams pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, armed career felon, illegal ownership of a firearm, and improper storage of a firearm.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent four to five years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the possession of heroin, possession of cocaine, and armed career felon charges. He was given concurrent time at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the other charges.
 
The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on Murray Avenue in North Adams on September 28, 2017.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, February 22.
 
Brian O'Neil, 40, of North Adams pleaded guilty of single counts of trafficking in fentanyl, possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of oxymorphone with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, and possession of psilocybin.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent two and a half years at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the possession of heroin, possession of oxymorphone, and possession of cocaine charges. He was placed on probation for three years on the other charges/
 
The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his Notch Road home on December 14, 2016. Four counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony were dismissed by the state.
 
Randy Ruusukallio, 34, of Pittsfield had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of assault and battery on a corrections officer.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $2,500 bail. Ruusukallio is accused of assaulting a corrections officer while being housed at the jail on December 11, 2017.
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Adams Businessman Arraigned in Pedestrian Death

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — David I. Sookey Jr., 61, of Adams, had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on Wednesday morning in Northern Berkshire District Court. 
 
Sookey was arraigned on single counts of leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident and of misleading, impeding and obstructing a police investigation. 
 
He is accused of hitting 85-year-old Theresa Marby with his vehicle on Dean Street on Friday morning and leaving the scene. Marby was found in the road and pronounced dead at Berkshire Medical Center in North Adams. 
 
According to the report filed by Adams Police Officer Gregory Charon, Sookey was backing out of his parking spot at the Oasis Liquor Store onto Dean Street at about 9:25 a.m. when his 2016 Jeep Wrangler struck Marby and knocked her down.
 
Police state that instead of stopping, Sookey shifted into drive, drove over her and continued southwest on Dean Street. He did not report the accident and, according to police, took "a series of systematic steps" to conceal the crime and mislead investagators. 
 
Investigators say they confirmed this series of events after viewing security footage from a camera at Greylock Apartments that was pointed toward the scene of the incident. A gray Jeep Wrangler can be seen backing out of its parking spot as Marby, walking in the street behind it, begins to raise her hands. 
 
Sookey told officers that he always parks on Dean Street next to the store's dumpster and that no one had used his vehicle that day. Sookey is a co-owner of Oasis, which is located at the corner of Spring and Dean streets. Marby resided on Spring Street. 
 
Police found Marby, 85, lying in a pool of blood in the northbound lane of Dean Street. Witnesses at the scene told police they had found Marby in the road and called 911 but did not see a vehicle or the incident. Richard Sookey, David Sookey's brother and co-owner of the liquor store, told police he was inside the store and did not see anything, pointing them toward a customer who had walked out of the store and seen Marby in the road. The store does not have security cameras outside, he told police. 
 
Marby was found to have significant head and chest trauma that doctors said was inconsistent with a fall, according to the police report.
 
Sookey was interviewed on Friday afternoon and told police he had left the store at 9:15 a.m. to go to Pittsfield to get a haircut and believed he may have hit a pothole on leaving. He said in his interview that he never saw Marby and had looked in his rearview mirror after believing he'd hit the pothole. He told police that his brother had texted him about the incident and he wondered if he had caused it. He indicated to police that he may have been in shock or denial, according to the report.
 
According to the report, he deleted all of his text messages and then washed his Jeep off at the local carwash on Friday, which police described as "a direct attempt" to destroy trace evidence after he knew he could have caused the fatality.
 
"Although investigators believe that Sookey's explanation of 'hitting a pothole' is implausible, Sookey admitted that at some point, approximately 1-2 hours after learning what happened, that he realized he did cause the accident and did not come forward to speak with investigators who were outside of his business all day," according to the report. 
 
Marby was a longtime employee at McDonald's in Adams and an officer and longtime member of Burnette-Bednarz Post 1995, Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary.
 
Sookey was released on $25,000 bail on condition he not operate a motor vehicle while the case is being processed. He is scheduled for a pre-trail hearing on March 19. 

 


Theresa Marby at a recent Memorial Day ceremony.

Original posting at 4:50 p.m., Feb. 20, 2018: ADAMS, Mass. — A longtime Adams resident has been arrested in Friday's hit-and-run death of 85-year-old Theresa Marby.

Police arrested David I. Sookey Jr., 61, of East Road on Tuesday afternoon. He is charged with single counts of leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident and of misleading, impeding and obstructing a police investigation. Sookey was released on personal recognizance and will be arraigned on those charges in Northern Berkshire District Court on Wednesday morning.

 
Marby was discovered laying in the middle of Dean Street mid-morning on Friday and taken to Berkshire Medical Center in North Adams, where she was pronounced dead. Preliminary results of an autopsy conducted Sunday on Marby indicated she died from blunt force trauma. Dr. Robert Welton, an associate medical examiner for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, conducted the autopsy in Holyoke.
 
Sookey is a well-known local businessman and an owner of the Oasis Liquor Store. Marby, who lived on Spring Street not far from where she was found, was also well known in the community and had been an officer in the local VFW Auxiliary. 
 
The investigation is being conducted by members of the Adams Police Department, State Police Detectives assigned to the District Attorney's Office and the State Police Crime Scene Services Section.
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