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Pittsfield Firefighters Battle Bakery Fire
Staff Reports On: 03:34PM / Friday May 24, 2013
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Flames burst out of the second story of the Lampiasi's Bakery in Pittsfield.

Update: Write-thru at 6:19 p.m. with quotes and new information.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The well-known Lampiasi's Bakery was engulfed in smoke and flames on Friday afternoon as firefighters battled to save what was left of the building.

The bakery at 53 Kent Ave. was open for business just before 2 p.m. when the fire was reported. Five workers, including two sons of owner Shawn Lampiasi, fled the building and were all accounted for.

Heavy smoke could be seen over North Street from the upper floor of the two-story building, and toward the back, where the bakery's century-old wood-fired ovens are located.

Fire officials do not have a cause but believe the blaze started in a void above the ovens between the first and second floor.

"Initially we did an interior attack, there was fire above the ovens," said Deputy Fire Chief Michael Polidoro. "We were operating the first alarm assignment, they were making no headway into the attack.

"We called the second alarm, which brings firefighters on duty to the scene and got mutual aid to cover the city with Dalton, Lanesborough and Lenox."

An hour into it, the airhorns were sounded and firefighters abruptly pulled from the building as the flames burst through the second-floor windows.

"There were guys who were in the building who unfortunately did not hear the evacuation order from me and one of our universal codes, throughout most fire departments, is to use the airhorns — three short blasts — in order to evacuate the buiding."

The top floor reportedly had office equipment and cleaning supplies but it was not clear they were stored there. The cause of the blaze has not yet been determined.  

The building dates to 1900 and suffered from another fire in the late 1980s. The property is assessed at $107,600.

The flames were beginning to die down later in the afternoon as firefighters mounted an exterior attack. Extra oxygen supplies were brought in.

Kent Avenue was closed and Seymour Street between Madison and Kent. County Ambulance, fire and building inspectors, and Berkshire Gas were at the scene, and many bystanders.

"A defensive attack as it is right now, is trying to maintian the fire at one point," said Polidoro as the crews continued to work at about 4:30. "They seem to be making some headway at this point."

The deputy chief said no one was injured although a couple firefighters experienced heat stress from the initial attack. "They all have recovered."

"The number of renovations in this building hampered our operations," he said. "Because of the different layers we had to get to ... the fire got a good hold."

The building, at the corner of Kent and Seymour, is separated from nearby buildings by parking lots and streets.

Lampiasi has operated the business for 31 years. It serves area restaurants and the public schools with breads and rolls.   The building is insured. The bakery had been previously owned by the late Walter F. Komuniecki Sr., who operated it for some 50 years before he died in 1969.



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Superior Court Briefs: May 10 - May 17
Staff Reports On: 03:17PM / Friday May 17, 2013
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Cases heard before Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder on Friday, May 10.

Christopher White, 25, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to five counts of breaking and entering in the daytime, five counts of larceny from a building, and single counts of breaking and entering in the daytime placing a person  in fear, illegal possession of a firearm, larceny of a firearm, vandalize property, larceny over $250 and common and notorious thief.

He was released on personal recognizance pending sentencing on Friday, May 17. On Friday, White was sentenced to 18 months at the Berkshire County House of Correction on all charges except common and notorious. He was placed on probation on that charge.

White broke into houses in Hancock, Hinsdale, Richmond, Dalton and Washington between September 7, 2011 and January 30, 2012. Two counts of malicious destruction of personal property over $250 and single counts of breaking and entering in the daytime, vandalize property and larceny in a building were dismissed by the state.

Cases heard before Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder on Monday, May 13.

John Meyette, 31, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of larceny over $250 and conspiracy to commit larceny over $250.

He was sentenced to serve 32 days at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the larceny charge and placed on one year probation on the conspiracy charge.

The charges stem from an incident in Pittsfield on July 20, 2011. A single count of breaking and entering a motor vehicle in the nighttime with the intent to commit a felony was dismissed by the state.

Cases heard before Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder on Tuesday, May 14.

Yarmi Lamart Cofield Sr., 39, of Springfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute - his second offense, illegal ownership of a firearm, improper storage of a firearm, possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

He was sentenced to concurrent four to five years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the possession of cocaine and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony charges. He was given concurrent sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the others.

The charge stems from the execution of a search warrant on Linden Street on September 19, 2012.

Cases heard before Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder on Wednesday, May 15.

Francis Daniel Mensah, 48, of Pittsfield was found guilty by a jury on single counts of aggravated assault and battery, assault and battery and violation of an abuse prevention order.

He was sentenced to serve one year of a two year sentenced at the Berkshire County House of Correction and place on two years probation.

The incidents occurred in Pittsfield and involved a 28-year-old woman between October 1, 2011 and December 22, 2011.

Prior to the start of the trial, Kinder ordered not guilty findings on single counts of assault and batter and reckless endangerment of a child in connection with charges involving an 8-year-old girl.

Mensah was found not guilty on single counts of rape and intimidation of a witness.



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Superior Court Briefs: May 8.
Staff Reports On: 12:33PM / Friday May 10, 2013
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Cases heard before Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder on Wednesday, May 8.

James Mullen, 22, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on five counts of larceny over $250 from a person 60-year-old or older, three counts of forgery, three counts of uttering and single counts of breaking and entering, larceny from a person over age 65, attempt to commit a crime, to wit: larceny over $250, receiving stolen property over $250, misleading a police officer, furnishing a false name to a police officer and common and notorious thief.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $25,000 cash or $250,000 surety bail. The incidents allegedly occurred in Pittsfield and North Adams between August 3, 2012 and April 4, 2013. 
 
Shane Rohane, 29, of North Adams pleaded guilty to a single count of assault and batter on a person age 60 or older. 
 
He was sentenced to two to four years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. The charges stem from an altercation in North Adams on October 4, 2012 when Rohane beat up an 60-year-old man. 
 
Two counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon were dismissed by the state.


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Lanesborough Shed Explodes; Firefighters Prevent Forest Fire
By Andy McKeever On: 05:21PM / Friday May 03, 2013
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A propane tank exploded inside the shed sparking the fire.

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — A shed behind a Potter Mountain home exploded Friday afternoon and nearly spread to a full-blown brush fire.
 
According to the homeowner, who wished to remain anonymous, his wife heard a loud bang at about 3 p.m. and moments later flames in the back yard had engulfed the nearby trees. The shed was completely destroyed and fire burned about an acre of land. 
 
"The flames were over the trees," he said.
 
Upon arriving, firefighters immediately called in tanker trucks from Hancock and Richmond to contain the fire from spreading up the Potter Mountain hillside, according to Fire Chief Charlie Durfee.
 
The state Department of Conservation and Recreation was called because of the "Class 4" conditions, meaning there is a high-level risk for brush fires.
 
"We were preventing the fire from spreading to a full-blown brush fire," Durfee said. "It could have taken off and burned 200 acres up the mountain."
 
Firefighters used about 4,000 gallons of water to put out the flames in about 30 minutes. Employees of nearby Sayers Auto Wrecking helped remove brush near the fire.
 
"The cause of the explosion is likely from a 1-pound propane cylinder for a grill," Durfee said, explaining that sometimes the propane expands and blows up the cylinder. 
 
Durfee said that type of explosion doesn't happen often but he was "just thankful the propane was out in the shed and not in the garage."
 
Nobody was injured. The shed housed typical outdoor items like fences and toys. A boat next to the shed was also destroyed.
 
The homeowner said he does have insurance, which will cover the replacement cost. 
 
"I have to give credit to Lanesborough and Richmond. They did a fabulous job," he said. "They knocked it down really quickly."


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Superior Court Briefs: April 29 - May 2
Staff Reports On: 11:27AM / Friday May 03, 2013
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Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Monday, April 29.

Justin Gaetani, 29, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on 12 counts of illegal possession of a large capacity feeding device, three counts of improper storage of a large capacity firearm, two counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon, two counts of illegal ownership of a firearm, and single counts of possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number, possession of ammunition without a firearm identification car and improper storage of a firearm.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his home on March 3.
 
Glenn Robert, 63, of North Adams had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of violation of the notification requirement of a release or threat of release of oil or hazardous waster, illegal disposal of hazardous waste and discharging a pollutant into the waters of the Commonwealth.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. Robert allegedly spilled approximately 20 gallons of diesel fuel in North Adams on October 15, 2012.
 
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Thursday, May 2.
 
Nolan Gamari,20, of Clarksburg pleaded guilty to four counts of rape and abuse of a child, no force, and a single count of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.
 
He was sentenced to two and a half years at the Berkshire County House of Correction on one count of rape and abuse of a child. He was sentenced to two and a half years at the Berkshire County House of Correction with one of those years to be serve while the remained be suspended with three years of probation. The year served will occur following the first sentences meaning he will serve a total of three and a half years at the Berkshire County House of Correction.
 
On the last count of rape and abuse he was given three years probation. 
 
Two additional counts of rape and abuse of a child, no force and a single count of enticing a child under the age of 16 were dismissed by the state.
 
The charges stem from an incident in Clarksburg on February 12, 2012 and involved a girl who is now 14 years old.


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Downing Seeking Talented Local Artists to Showcase in Boston, Pittsfield
MCLA to Recognize Outstanding Berkshire County Educators
Williams College Celebrates Staff Members on Annual Appreciation Day
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Mount Greylock Opens 2015 Season On May 16

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