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No Serious Injuries in Hoosac Valley Bus, Tractor-Trailer Accident

By Jack Guerino
iBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — No major injuries were reported after emergency services responded to an accident involving a school bus and a tractor-trailer truck on Route 116 on Wednesday morning 
 
"Essentially it was what it was but it could have been a lot worse," Police Chief Richard Tarsa said. "It had the potential to be much worse than it was."
 
Tarsa said a little after 7 a.m. a tractor-trailer truck, traveling north on Orchard Street toward Adams, lost control of the trailer section of the vehicle.
 
He said because of icy road conditions, the trailer jackknifed across the road.  The trailer was empty so it had less traction than it would have had if it was full. The left rear of the trailer hit the left front fender of a school bus that was heading to Hoosac Valley High School.
 
"The lack of weight in the back of it made it very light and when on the icy road, it caused it to kick out sideways," Tarsa said. "As it did, the bus driver saw it and tried to make an evasive move by pulling and extreme right going up onto the sidewalk."
 
Emergency services, Hoosac Valley administration, a school adjustment counselor, representatives from Dufour Bus and members of the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District Safety Team, were on the scene soon after the accident.
 
Tarsa said the bus was carrying 31 people, including the driver. One person complaining of pain was transported to the North Adams Campus of Berkshire Medical Center.
 
All students were checked for injuries and were transported to school on a second bus, according to interim Superintendent Robert Putnam. All parents were informed by the school and some students went home and school emergency personnel were available for students throughout the day.
 
He added that there was also a robocall informing all Hoosac Valley parents. 
 
Tarsa said the bus had to be towed away but the tractor trailer truck was operable.
 
Emergency personnel was also on staff at C.T. Plunkett Elementary to deal with possible shock. Some Plunkett students waiting for the bus Wednesday morning near the accident saw the damage.
 
Tarsa said the safety team was created to deal these kinds of incidents and is comprised of members from the Adams and Cheshire police and fire departments, Adams Ambulance Service, state troopers, Dufour Bus, and school administration who meet regularly to anticipate and train for emergency situations and to conduct student drills.
 
"It went very well and everything went to plan," he said. "We train for this through event training, crisis management, and school drills. Everything went accordingly and fell into place." 
 
He said after the safety team met to review their response to see what lessons could be learned for future responses.
     

Adams McDonald's Closed Tuesday Night by Roof Fire

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff

Firefighters cut into the roof to check if the fire has spread.

ADAMS, Mass. — A quick response prevented a roof fire at McDonald's from spreading.

A couple dozen volunteer firefighters from Adams and Cheshire responded to the report of a structure fire at the burger franchise at about 4:35 p.m. on a bitterly cold Tuesday.

"As I pulled up around the corner, I could see flames showing from the roof area ... underneath the McDonald's sign," said Fire Chief Paul Goyette.

While the cause is still uncertain, Goyette said, "we're leaning on the side of electrical."

Someone driving by reportedly called the McDonald's and told an employee that the building was on fire. The manager called 911 and accessed the roof with a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze. The manager was also able to isolate and shut off the electricity to the interior-lighted sign located across the roof of the building.

Firefighters were able to maneuver the ladder truck into position and went up on the roof to get the blaze, which appears to have been located under the "d's" on the sign and under one of the metal light covers that go up and over the parapet that angles up sharply from the roof line.

"The shingles were burned all the way down [under the cover]," Goyette said. "The heat source was the lighting unit but it was already burning on the roof structure."

Firefighters opened a small section of the roof with a chainsaw to ensure there was no extension of the fire underneath. The fire chief said that was a serious concern because the hollow parapet structure above the roof line would have allowed the fire to spread.

"We wanted to make sure there was no fire in the void," he said, adding that "once there's a fire, it just takes off so fast. It gets into that parapet void and it just takes off."

Goyette said he's seen reports of similarly styled restaurant structures that have been total losses after a fire has gotten into the hollow areas.

"This was an excellent save," he said. "The operation went very well."

The scene was cleared in about an hour. Cheshire Fire was called in for rapid response; local police took care of traffic, although no streets were closed, and Adams Ambulance was on standby at the scene.

The restaurant had been immediately evacuated and employees were sent home. The restaurant was closed for the evening but Goyette thought it possible it could open in the morning. The Board of Health inspector had already been on the scene and the building inspector had been alerted.

The company had an electrician coming to deal with the sign.

     

State Police Bomb Squad Deactivate Pressurized Bottles in Adams

By Jack Guerino
iBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — The state police bomb squad was called to Airport Road on Thursday morning to investigate a cluster of pressurized bottles containing an unknown liquid.

Police Chief Richard Tarsa said police responded to the scene around 7:30 a.m. after a truck ran over one of the plastic bottles causing it to burst, making a loud sound.

Tarsa said the bottles were scattered in the road and contained some sort of chemical that caused them to pressurize, similar to a bottle of soda.

"We had a bottle that was pressurized and a vehicle drove over it and it erupted, which sounded like an explosion but was just the eruption of the device," the chief said. "It was not an explosive device. This is not an IED by any means. It's a sealed water bottle with a chemical in it that creates pressure."

Although there was no damage to the car or driver, Tarsa said the road was closed and Fire Department and the state police bomb squad were called to investigate.

There were three other bottles on the road. One was defective but the other two were live.

"The bomb squad came out and they used the robotic arm," he said. "It grabs the bottle and the arm is designed to depressurize the bottle by putting a hole in it and making it inactive."

The first bottle was successfully depressurized, however, the second had built up enough pressure that when the arm touched it, it burst.

Tarsa said the police are unsure who set the bottles and the incident is under investigation. He added that whoever placed the bottles set up an incredibly dangerous situation for themselves and those passing through the area.

"This is a stupid thing to do because whoever made these devices there was the ability for the bottles to go off in their hands and with chemicals, you are looking at chemical burns," Tarsa said. "And being in a roadway that is a place where a lot of people walk their dogs ... what happens if a dog latches on to it?"

Tarsa said the bottles were somewhat isolated on the rural road and in the end, everything was handled according to protocol, and there were no damages or injuries.

     

Adams Woman Killed in One-Car Crash on Route 112

ASHFIELD, Mass. — A 67-year-old Adams woman was killed in a single-car crash on Monday afternoon on Route 112 in Ashfield.

State police, who are investigating the incident, said the victim's identity would not be immediately released on Monday night.

Late Tuesday the woman was identified as Theresa Mille.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette reported that the Toyota Corolla she was driving flipped over the guardrail on the northbound lane. The accident occurred between Sears Road and the Three Sisters Sanctuary.

The crash occurred at about 3:15 p.m. and caused the northbound lane to be closed for about an hour during the on-scene investigation.

Troopers assigned to the Shelburne Falls Barracks and the state police Collision Analysis Reconstruction Section, State Police Detective Unit and Crime Scene Services Section, along with Ashfield Fire Department, responded to calls of the car crash.

The woman died as a result of her injuries. Her male passenger was transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield for unknown injuries. His name also was not being released.

State Police said no further information was available at this time.

     

Adams Man Pleads Not Guilty to Attempted Quadlands Robbery

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The man accused of robbing Quadlands Flowers & Gifts in June is being held on $25,000 bail.

David J. Taylor, 22, of Old Columbia Street in Adams, pleaded not guilty on Thursday afternoon in Superior Court in Pittsfield of a single count of armed assault with intent to rob a person 60 years of age or older.

Judge Daniel Ford ordered that he be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction.

Taylor is accused of entering the flower shop on Holden Street at about 9:30 a.m. on June 20 and brandishing a handgun at the sales clerk that had been tucked in his waistband. He did not get any money and no one was injured.

The investigation was conducted by members of the North Adams Police Department.

     
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