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Truck Fire Closes Pittsfield's West Housatonic Street

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
Two engine companies and a ladder company responded to the scene.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — West Housatonic Street was closed for about 45 minutes Monday morning after a tractor-trailer burst into flames.
According to Deputy Chief Bruce Kilmer, the driver of the semi suddenly lost power while eastbound near Clapp Park. He pulled over and noticed a leak before the flames burst out of the engine compartment and engulfed the front of the truck.
"I assume he had a fuel line leak but it is so hard to tell because the engine compartment was burned up pretty heavily," Kilmer said.
The driver was Demitres Cade from Albany, N.Y., and the truck was owned by Estes Express Lines of Glenmont, N.Y. Cade was the only one in the vehicle at the time and was unhurt in the fire. 
Two engines and a ladder company responded to the scene. In just 10 minutes, the flames were out, Kilmer said. However the road remained closed with detours in place for about 45 minutes. 
The mix of diesel fuel and fiberglass insulation caused a dramatic-looking black smoke to rise from the flames. The smoke rose high into the air and could be seen billowing into the sky from South Street.
According to Lt. Tim Bartini, the truck was hauling "lumber and wooden ladders" so there was no risk of any hazardous materials entering the environment. The trailer was not damaged by the flames, only the cab, which appeared to be an International.

Linden Street Fire in Pittsfield Ruled Arson

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Authorities are offering a reward up to $5,000 for information leading to the person or persons who started a fire late Wednesday morning on Linden Street.

The vacant four-family structure at 213 Linden St. incurred what fire officials said was "moderate damage" to the first floor and basement.

Firefighters responded to the scene at 11:49 a.m. after a passerby noted smoke coming from the building. Upon arrival, they found heavy smoke throughout the building and flames in the basement extending to the first floor.

The call went to two alarms and all on-duty personnel were called to the scene; off-duty firefighters were called in to man the stations.

It took about 45 minutes to bring the fire under control. Five engines and a ladder truck responded to the scene and Deputy Fire Chief Mark Cancilla was the officer in charge.

No civilians were injured but one firefighter incurred a muscle strain.

The state fire marshal's office and city fire and police investigators ruled the cause of the fire as arson. Anyone with information about the fire should call 1-800-682-9229.


Pittsfield: Property Crime Up, Violent Down in April

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. —  An "unusually high" number of commercial burglaries occurred during April, according to a report released from the Police Department.

The number of burglaries more than doubled over March. The month of April saw 43 burglaries compared to just 21 in March, which has been mostly characterized by a large number of motor vehicle burglaries.

"Although the rash of motor vehicle burglaries that we saw in March died down considerably this month, it was unfortunately replaced with an unusually high number of commercial burglaries," the Police Department wrote in a monthly "city stats" report.

Burglaries are still lower than they were at this point last year. In 2013, there were 131 and, so far this year, there have been 109. However, the number of burglaries in April are 23 percent above the five-year average.

"The average increase for burglaries between March and April is five cases, but this year we have had a 22-case increase. This spike, however, can be attributed to a rash of commercial burglaries we have had this past month," the report reads.

In nearly all types of property crime — from larceny to shop lifting to motor vehicle theft — the city was above the five-year average in the month of April. The only crime trending below is larceny from a person. 

Overall, April saw 135 cases of property crime compared to 100 last month. The property crime rate for April was 48 percent more than the five-year average.

Property crime has been on an uptick each month, but violent crime is significantly down.

"Recovering from some slipups last month, April has seen decreases in violent crime across the board," the report reads. "In all categories, April 2014 showed a 5 percent or higher decrease compared to the 5-year average (except for homicide, which has an average of 0 cases). The most notable difference, again, is the drastically smaller number of aggravated assault cases. Over the past five years, April usually brings an average of 12 aggravated assault incidents and this year, we have only had one."

There were two rapes, one robbery and one aggravated assault case in the city in April. The four total cases is down from nine last month.

Violent crime overall is down 78 percent in the month of April than the five-year average.

Pittsfield Police April 2014 CityStat Report



Chalue Found Guilty In Triple Murder Case

Staff Reports
David Chalue

Update: David Chalue was sentenced by Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder on Monday, May 19, to serve consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction for the murders of  David Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chadwell.

He was given concurrent 8 to 10-year sentences on the other charges of kidnapping and intimidation of a witness.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A jury found David Chalue, 47, guilty of murder, kidnapping and intimidation of a witness in the highly publicized triple murder.

Chalue was found guilty on three counts of first degree murder, three counts of kidnapping and three counts of intimidation of a witness after the jury deliberated over five days.

Judge Jeffrey Kinder ordered that he be held without bail pending sentencing on Monday at 2 p.m. in Hampden Superior Court.

Chalue is one of four men facing charges in the kidnapping and murder of David Glasser, 44, Edward Frampton, 58, and Robert Chadwell. The three men went missing from their Pittsfield apartment on August 28, 2011 and their bodies were found in Becket that September.

Adam Lee Hall, 34, was the primary defendant and he was found guilty and sentenced to three consecutive life sentences without the chance at parole. Caivus Veiovis, 31, is facing the same charges but has not gone to trial.

David Casey, 62, of Canaan, N.Y., is faced with multiple charges of accessory after the fact for allegedly providing the equipment to bury the three bodies.


Pittsfield Man Hospitalized After Collision with Cruiser

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A city man was sent to the hospital last Wednesday night after being hit by a police cruiser.

George Johnston, 58, was transported to Berkshire Medical Center after being hit at the intersection of First and Orchard streets on April 24.

Police said Johnston was on foot and crossing First Street at approximately 9:58 p.m. when Lt. Mike Winston collided with him in a fully marked cruiser. Winston was southbound on First Street; there is one crosswalk on the south side if the intersection. The report did not state if Johnston was in the crosswalk when the accident occurred.

Johnston was reportedly treated for non-life threatening injuries; Winston was unhurt.

The Police Department's accident reconstruction team is currently investigating the accident and anyone with information is asked to call the traffic bureau at 413-448-9700, Ext. 338.

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