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Suspicious Blaze Destroys Vacant North Adams House

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff
A vacant single-family home on Beaver Street went up in flames Friday morning.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Officials are investigating a suspicious blaze that destroyed a vacant house on Beaver Street early Friday morning.

Firefighters, the state fire marshal's office and Fire Director Stephen Meranti were looking through the burned-out structure later Friday morning. A tree that had fallen over the roof at 60 Beaver St. several months ago was still there — although the roof was gone and the tree heavily charred.

Meranti said the fire is considered suspicious. "There were no utilities connected," he said.

The call came in for a fully involved structure fire at about 3 a.m. Friday, Meranti said, and the police officer who arrived first at the scene confirmed the building was ablaze.

Heavy flames could be seen shooting from the roof and windows when firefighters arrived, he said, and the officer in charge, Lt. John Paciorek, called for a second alarm.

"No entry was attempted," Meranti said. "Our first concern was to protect the area — this was a defensive action."

The house sits near the intersection with Route 2; the only other structure near it is a two-family home to its north. The overgrown yard was only slightly singed although Meranti said more was burned behind the building.

It did not take long to contain the blaze and firefighters were familiar with the house's layout having entered when the tree fell on it earlier this summer. Meranti said the building was empty.

The owner of record, according to the Registry of Deeds, has last been Michael and Diane Kemp. Meranti said they had been notified.

What was left of the structure was to be knocked on Friday for safety reasons.

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Early Morning Fire Burns Down V's Doghouse

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
The Lanesborough Fire Department took this photo of the early morning fire.

Update 11:01 a.m. on Oct. 1, 2014:
The Sept. 28 fire at V's Dog House Restaurant was electrical, according state Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan and Lanesborough Fire Chief Charles A. Durfee.


The fire started inside a wall between the kitchen and bar around 4 a.m. The restaurant was closed at the time and there were no injuries. The estimated damage is $700,000. The building did not have fire sprinklers.

The fire was investigated by the Lanesborough Fire Department and state police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal. Assistance was received from an electrical expert and State Police Crime Scene Services.


Update at 4:35 p.m.: The state fire marshal has ruled out arson as the cause of the blaze that destroyed V's Dog House early Sunday morning.

Fire Chief Charlie Durfee said there are two locations in the building that fire investigators are focusing on to determine the cause. He expected them to have an answer by noon Monday. 

The damage is estimated at $700,000, he said. The building (business was previously known as Zen's Dog House) was purchased by Edward L. Vella Jr. in 2009, according to documents in the Registry of Deeds.

Durfee also said the hydrants, owned by the Berkshire Mall, are maintained and functioning but firefighters ran into difficulties getting them open. There are no hydrants on the Route 8 side.

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — V's Doghouse on Route 8 burned to the ground early Sunday morning.

 
Fire Chief Charlie Durfee said there were no injuries in the blaze that was extinguished by volunteer firefighters from more than a half dozen departments. Route 8 is expected to be closed between the Berkshire Mall entrances until the afternoon.
 
"The call came to the Police Department for a window break, which set off the burglar alarm. That's how we knew. The Police saw smoke in the building and called us," Durfee said.
 
Durfee said the call came in at 4:30 a.m. 
 
"Upon arrival we had heavy smoke coming from the eaves and in a matter of 10, 15 minutes we had flames coming from the roof," said Durfee.
 
That triggered an immediate mutual aid call for neighboring departments. Some of the fire hydrants at the Berkshire Mall were not functioning so nearly all of the tankers in Central Berkshire were called in to shuttle water from one working hydrant, Berkshire Pond and a pond behind the restaurant.
 
"We're running about 14,000 gallons of water per trip," Durfee said. "Once we got the tankers rolling, we had all kinds of water."
 
Initially, firefighters mounted an interior attack but the heat and flames became too much. The fire was the fought from the exterior.
 
"The building has a metal roof and that holds the heat in, which feeds the fire. It just kept getting hotter, hotter and hotter. Once it went through the roof there was nothing we could do," Durfee said. "It is a total loss."
 
In total some 50 volunteer firefighters responded from Lanesborough, Richmond, Hinsdale, Dalton, Cheshire, Savoy, Adams Forest Wardens and Hancock. Clarksburg sent a tanker truck to Cheshire because all of the others in central county were in use. Williamstown covered Lanesborough's station. 
 
"For 4:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning, this is a fantastic turnout," Durfee said.
 
The State Fire Marshal's office was on scene to determine the cause of the fire, which is currently unknown. 
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Third Man Found Guilty in Pittsfield Triple Murder

Staff Reports
Caius Veiovis from his mugshot in 2011.

UPDATED Sept. 29, 2014, at 3:00 p.m.

Hampden Superior Court Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder on Monday afternoon ordered that Caius Vieovus serve consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the charges of murder in the first degree against David Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chadwell.

He was given concurrent eight- to 10-year sentences on the other charges.


PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The third man accused in a triple killing in 2011 was found guilty of first-degree murder on Friday afternoon.

Caius Veiovis, also known as Roy Gutfinski, 34, was found guilty by a jury in Hampden Superior Court.

The jury deliberated for about 36 1/2 hours over a six-day period before returning its verdict of guilty on three three counts of murder in the first degree, three counts of kidnapping and three counts of intimidation of a witness or other person.

Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder ordered that Veiovis be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without the right to bail pending sentencing that will occur Monday at 2 p.m. in the Hampden court.

The jury found that Veiovis kidnapped and then killed 44-year-old David Glasser, 58-year-old Edward Frampton and 47-year-old Robert Chadwell. The three Pittsfield men were last seen at a Pittsfield apartment shared by Glasser and Frampton on Aug. 28, 2011. Their dismembered bodies were found in Becket that September.

Glasser was set to testify against Adam Lee Hall, 34, in a drug case.

Hall, of Peru, the primary defendant, was found guilty and sentenced to three consecutive life sentences without the chance at parole. David Chalue, 47, of North Adams, was also found guilty of murder, kidnapping and intimidation of a witness in the highly publicized murders.

David Casey, 62, of Canaan, N.Y., is facing multiple charges of accessory after the fact for allegedly providing the equipment to bury the three bodies. He testified against Veiovis, Hall and Chalue at their trials.

All three were tried in Hampden County after defense attorneys convinced Kinder that the extensive coverage of the slayings in Berkshire County would prevent a fair trial.

The investigation was conducted by the Berkshire Detective Unit assigned to the District attorney's office and the Pittsfield Police Department. They were assisted by the FBI, the Berkshire County sheriff's office and members of the Berkshire County Drug Task Force.

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Superior Court Briefs: Sept. 22 - Sept. 24

Staff Reports
Cases heard before judge John Agostini on Monday, September 22.
 
Dylan Greiter, 25, of Stephentown, N.Y. pleaded guilty to two counts of receiving stolen property over $250, two counts of wanton destruction of property and single counts of larceny over $250, trespassing and being present where heroin is kept.
 
He was given a one-year suspended sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction on all charges except trespassing. He was given a 30-day suspended sentence on that. He was also placed on two-years probation.
 
Greiter sold copper that belonged to Iberdrola Renewables. The incidents occurred between October 26, 2013 and November 12, 2013.
 
Jake Sawtelle, 25, of Dalton pleaded guilty to six counts of breaking and entering the daytime with intent to commit a felony.
 
He was ordered to serve 99 days of a two-year sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction. Sawtelle was also placed on two-years probation.
 
Sawtelle broke into homes in Becket, Hinsdale, Lanesborough and Richmond between January 10, 2013 and March 6, 2013. Three counts of larceny of a firearm were dismissed by the state.
 
Cases heard before judge John Agostini on Monday, September 22.
 
Arthur Jones III, 45, of Weymouth pleaded guilty to two counts of assault and battery on a person 60 years old or older and single counts of kidnapping, unarmed robbery, and larceny under $250.
 
He was sentenced to 10 to 15 years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. He was given concurrent jail time on the other charges.
 
The charges stem from an incident in New Ashford involving a 61 year old man on March 19, 2013 and March 20, 2013. A single count of assault with intent to murder was dismissed by the state.
 
Shaun Koonce, 33, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of trafficking in cocaine, possession of heroin with intent to distribute - his second offense - and possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent four to six 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 others.
 
The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his home on September 12, 2013.
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Superior Court Briefs: Sept. 16 - Sept. 18

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
Cases heard before judge John Agostini on Tuesday, September 16.
 
David Faria, 40, of Adams pleaded guilty to two counts of assault and battery and single counts of kidnapping, armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, assault by means of a dangerous weapon, intimidation of a witness or other person, carrying a dangerous weapon, and threat to commit a crime.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent three to five years in state prison on the kidnapping, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and assault by means of a dangerous weapon charge. He was placed on five-years probation on the armed assault with intent to murder. He was given concurrent time at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the remaining charges.
 
The incidents occurred in Adams on May 19, 2013 and involved a 37-year-old woman.
 
Cases heard before judge John Agostini on Thursday, September 18.
 
Tyrone Jenkins, 32, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to three counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon and a single count of larceny from a person.
 
He was ordered to serve 148 days of a two-year sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the larceny from a person charge. The balance of that sentence is suspended for three years. He was placed on three-years probation on the other charges.
 
The incident occurred in Pittsfield on April 21, 2009. A single count of possession of phencyclidine was dismissed by the state.
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