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Overheated Pump Fills Pittsfield Home With Smoke

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A city woman helped her elderly neighbor after a water pump overheated and filled her Parkside Avenue home with smoke.
 
According to residents on scene, the woman who lives at 148 Parkside Ave. fled the home after smoke filled the first floor. A neighbor saw her, ran over and helped her get away. She then called 911.
 
The Fire Department arrived shortly after and began searching for the potential fire. Ultimately the department determined that it was an overheated pump that began filling the home with smoke.
 
Firefighters ventilated the home and paramedics on scene evaluated the older woman. 
     

Missing Pittsfield Man's Body Found Off West Street

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The body of a Pittsfield man missing since Saturday was found Monday afternoon in Hancock.
 
Investigators say the death of 66-year-old Dan Lewis does not appear to be suspicious.
 
Pittsfield Police received a 911 call shortly after 4 p.m. saying a person had been found unresponsive about a quarter mile past the locked gate at the end of West Street. When first responders arrived at the scene, they found the body of Lewis, who was reported missing Saturday evening.
 
He was last seen on video surveillance walking west on East Street in front of Berkshire Mazda at 9:05 p.m. on Saturday, and near a home at the intersection of Dalton and Plastic avenues. It was theorized he may have been heading to Stephentown, N.Y., where he had previously lived, or Hinsdale, where he grew up.
 
The investigation is being conducted by state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office and by members of the Pittsfield Police Department.
     

Pittsfield Police Ask Residents to Stop Sharing Facebook Image

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield Police are asking residents to stop sharing an image from Facebook with a sarcastic message about school shootings. 
 
According to a post on the department's Facebook page, the message is not directed at Pittsfield but rather Pittsfield, N.H.
 
"For the past 24-plus hours we have been inundated by messages with this image," the post states. "We followed up upon receiving the first message and it was immediately clear this was NOT Pittsfield MA." 
 
The message stated "whoever plans on shooting up a school next, please pick Pittsfield. Thank you." The post by the girl was accompanied by a smiley face with a halo. 
 
The Concord (N.H.) Monitor reported on Thursday that a student was banned from the Pittsfield Middle High School in New Hampshire while what police described as a threat was being investigated. The post was apparently made on the student's Facebook page sometime Tuesday.  
 
Pittsfield, Mass., Police noted that the authorities in Pittsfield, N.H., are aware of the post. 
 
"PLEASE stop sharing this image as it is only creating mass confusion in and around our community. We understand the reason why people have shared but PLEASE STOP. Thank you," the police asked. 
     

Woman Found Not Guilty in Williamstown Hit-and-Run

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Williamstown woman was found not guilty on Wednesday of leaving the scene of a hit-and-run that has left a local woman in a coma for two years. 
 
But she and her husband were both found guilty of misleading police in the days following the incident that seriously injured Cheryl J. LeClaire, 54, of White Oaks Road in Williamstown. They were found not guilty of conspiracy to mislead. 
 
A Superior Court jury deliberated for eight hours before returning the verdicts in the cases against Sally J. Gould, 73, the driver in the incident, and her husband, John T. Gould, 71.
 
LeClaire was walking her dog on the evening of Feb. 9, 2016, along North Hoosac Road in Williamstown. A passing motorist found her lying in the road, unresponsive, at about 6:30 p.m. She was taken to Berkshire Medical Center with severe head trauma. Her dog was unharmed. 
 
Police investigators believed that LeClaire had been struck or brushed by a passing vehicle but there was little physical evidence at the scene and no witnesses. Some automotive materials led police to look for a Honda CRV with front-end damage.
 
The Goulds were arrested two weeks later and charged with misleading police in their investigation and conspiracy to mislead a police officer. Sally Gould was also charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident. 
 
The charges were based on actions taken by the Goulds to repair their 2014 Honda CRV, including replacing a windshield. Defensive attorneys argued that the sport utility vehicle being parked outside during this time and John Gould's willingness to speak to police showed there was no attempt to cover anything up. However, authorities said the Goulds gave inconsistent statements and told them the damage had occurred in a parking lot collision.
 
Judge John Agostini released both Goulds on personal recognizance pending sentencing on March 26 at 2 p.m.
     

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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