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Lanesborough Fire Extinguishes Second Blaze In Five Days

Staff Reports
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Firefighters extinguished the second fire in the last five days Monday morning.
Fire Chief Charlie Durfee said a short in a phone charger at 6:30 a.m. led to a fire in one of the cabins at the Lanesborough Country Inn. Upon arrival, Durfee found heavy smoke coming from the cabin and a small fire in the room. 
"No one was in the cabin at the time. No one was hurt," Durfee said.
The chief estimates $15,000 worth of damage was caused by the blaze. 
The fire is the second one in five days. On Wednesday, a cellar fire on Alice Avenue caused $100,000 worth of damage. In fighting that fire, Dalton, Cheshire, New Ashford and Hinsdale were all called in for mutual aid. 

Utility Pole Caught Fire, Cut Power To Mall

Staff Reports
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — A utility pole caught fire Thursday and cut power to the Berkshire Mall.
Fire Chief Charlie Durfee said at about 4:30 on Thursday firefighters were called to the Berkshire Mall and found two phases of  the three-phase power system  had popped on the pole. Firefighters extinguished the fire and Eversource was called. 
The fire left most of the mall without power forcing the stores to close.
"The mall manager was calling the home office to close the mall due to no power," Durfee wrote in an email Thursday evening. "Eversource wasn't sure what happened or how long it would take to fix."
The anchor stores were able to open sometime later but the rest of the mall was closed for the evening.

Lanesborough Police Investigating Crash That Killed New Ashford Woman

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Police are investigating a one-car accident that killed a 51-year-old New Ashford woman on Thursday night.

Sheryl A. Surprenant of State Road in New Ashford was driving northbound on Route 7 when her car crossed lanes and went off the road, crashing through the sign for the former Lamp Post Motel, on the southbound side, said police.

Officers responded at  9:22 p.m. to the report of a vehicle off the road near the motel on Route 7. The Chrysler had flipped and was lodged in trees and brush.

"The vehicle was on its roof and in the trees. She was pronounced dead on the scene," said Sgt. Gary Kirby on Wednesday. "It was a very difficult extrication by Lanesborough Fire and EMS."

A passerby, who works in the tree removal business, reported the accident and began clearing brush until emergency responders arrived. Speed was a factor based on evidence at the scene and a witness account, according to police, but the rest of the circumstances are still under investigation.

The accident caused some backed up traffic but the road remained open.

Kirby was not on the scene that night but Officers Brad Lepicier and Robert Moore, and Investigator Timothy Sorrell responded along with Lanesborough firefighters, emergency medical services, and County Ambulance. The Massachusetts State Police accident reconstruction team is assisting with the investigation.

Suprenant, a Pittsfield native, resided for many years in Southwick before returning to the area.


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. 

Possible Abduction Attempt in South Berkshire

Staff Reports

NEW MARLBOROUGH, Mass. — Parents in the Southern Berkshire Regional School District are being advised to be alert after a possible abduction attempt Thursday afternoon.

Authorities say the incident happened about 3:30 on Norfolk Road in New Marlborough as an 11-year-old boy walked home from school.

The boy told investigators he was approached by a man in a gray, four-door car with blue and white New York license plates.

The driver was described as a white man, approximately 30 to 40 years old with a thin build and medium-length black hair that looked a little shaggy.

Anyone who might have seen a vehicle matching this description is asked to call the state police barracks in Lee at 413-243-0600.

In a letter to parents, Mount Everett Regional School Principal Glenn Devoti said the suspicious man "may have attempted to abduct a 6th grade elementary student."

The police and bus company were notified, wrote Devoti.

The New Marlborough Police Department, state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's Office and state troopers from the Lee barracks are investigating.

"Please be cautious about leaving students unsupervised at bus stops and notify police or school personnel if you observe anyone matching this description or observe any other suspicious behavior," he asked.

Lanesborough Police were also looking for a New York vehicle earlier this week, that one a red sedan, possibly a late 1990s model similar to a Pontiac Grand Am, and operated by an older white man with facial hair.

In that case, police said the car had been seen around school bus stops in Lanesborough and they wished to speak with the operator.

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