By Andy McKeever On: 02:12PM / Monday November 17, 2014
The single-family home at 52 Seymour St. suffered damage because of the fire.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A family of five has been displaced following a fire that destroyed their Seymour Street home on Monday.
The family was not home at the time but the structure was damaged so severely that the building inspector has ruled it uninhabitable.
Two dogs that were inside during the fire were rescued by firefighters — one initially and then another while fighting the fire.
"We arrived on the scene at 10:49 a.m. and had heavy smoke showing across Seymour Street with fire on the backside of the house," Deputy Chief Michael Polidoro said. "There were no occupants home at the time. Both pets were rescued from the building."
Polidoro said the fire was called as a two-alarm in order to rotate the firefighting crews. All on-duty personnel responded first and later an on-call crew took over. After an hour and a half or so, the blaze was extinguished but firefighters continued to chase down hot spots.
"The fire took a lot of time to put out because it worked its way into the walls of an older structure and got into the attic area," Polidoro said. "The fire did extensive damage to the house. The occupants will not be able to live there."
He added, "it did become a double-alarm fire for manpower because we were trying to knock it down and chase it through the house."
The family — two adults and three children — rent from the owner John Giardina. The American Red Cross has been notified. As of 2 p.m., firefighters were helping to salvage the family's items that survived the blaze — but heat damage destroyed much of the single-family home.
The fire led to the closure of Seymour Street for more than three hours.
Polidoro said the rainy weather didn't play a role in fighting the fire. The cause is still unknown but inspectors are on scene in hopes to pinpoint it.
"The crews did a good job. They really worked hard today. It stretched them to their limits but nobody complained about it," Polidoro said.
Report: Pittsfield Experiences Most Violent August in Years
By Andy McKeever On: 08:04PM / Monday November 10, 2014
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — This August was the most violent August in the last five years.
While violent crime is still overall down trending compared to other years, August showed a massive upswing of 27 violent crimes — 69 percent more than the five-year average. The upswing is reversing a trend the Police Department saw with violent crime down and property crime up.
Aggravated assault topped the list of the most committed crime in Pittsfield with 20. In other months, there were as few as four aggravated assaults.
There were also three arsons, two robberies and two rapes in August. Year to date, there have been 100 violent crimes committed in Pittsfield, which is 27 percent higher than this time last year.
"We were also seeing consistently fewer Violent Crimes this year compared to last, but for the past three months, we have drastically surpassed the number of similar crimes committed in 2013," reads a Police Department report on the month of August.
August showed an opposite trend from early in the year. In reports on the earlier months, property crime had been trending above average while violent crime was down. In recent months, the trend reversed and property crime is now trending at a rate less than last year.
"We started out the year showing a considerably higher rate of property crime occurring in the city compared to last year. Now we seem to be bridging the gap, as each month shows slightly less property crime being committed, comparatively," the report reads.
"For example, in June, we had 19 percent more property crimes compared to the same time last year. In July, we had 11 percent more, and now, in August, we have only 8 percent more. If things continue in this direction, we should show an overall lower total number of property crimes in 2014 than we had in 2013."
As of the end of August, there was 950 property crimes committed compared to 878 at the same time last year. But, August saw 133 compared to last August's 126, which shows a downtrend in the yearly totals. Larceny is the most common crime with 81 in August compared to 77 last August.
July and August both saw a lower trend in property crime than average, which is bringing the year to date numbers closer to last year.
Two Students Arrested at Different Schools with Loaded Weapons
Staff Reports On: 03:13PM / Thursday October 30, 2014
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A high school student and a college student were found with loaded weapons this week after each created a disturbance at their respective campuses.
On Tuesday night, a Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts student was arrested at the North Adams campus after becoming belligerent during an evening class. Chris LaFrance, 25, was allegedly intoxicated when campus police pepper sprayed him; upon arresting him, police said they found a loaded handgun on his person. While reportedly licensed to carry a firearm, LaFrance is facing a number of charges related to the incident and the public school where he had been training was apprised of his arrest and terminated his participation.
Pittsfield school officials say a Taconic High School student was arrested Thursday morning for creating a disturbance and a loaded gun was found on his person.
At no point was the weapon made visible to any student or staff member at Taconic, according to officials.
The Taconic administration said it is working with the Pittsfield Police Department to further investigate the matter.
"Principal Vosburgh and his staff followed Pittsfield Public School safety protocol to the letter. School administration and Pittsfield Police effectively took all appropriate measures to efficiently address the situation and safeguard the school community," said Mayor Daniel Bianchi in a statement. "I am confident in Dr. McCandless' leadership and the professionalism of school staff as we continue to collaborate with community partners."
McCandless, Pittsfield Public Schools superintendent, said safety protocols are in place at all schools and are practiced regularly. The school community and parents will be kept informed, he said.
"The safety and concern of our students is the highest priority. All schools in the district have safety response protocols and procedures in place. Families are encouraged to partner with the school administration regarding any information that could be of assistance to help continue to maintain a safe and secure environment," according to a press release from City Hall.
Third Man Found Guilty in Pittsfield Triple Murder
Staff Reports On: 04:19PM / Friday September 26, 2014
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.
Teenager Shot in Pittsfield; One Juvenile Arrested
By Andy McKeever On: 02:52PM / Monday August 18, 2014
The O'Connell's convenience store was closed Monday morning while police investigated.
UPDATED: Tuesday, August 19 at 9:24 a.m.
Police say they are no longer searching for another suspect. However, they are still looking for witnesses.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A 17-year-old man was shot at the intersection of First and Tyler Streets on Monday morning.
One juvenile has been arrested and charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling.
Police have not released the name of the suspects or the victim.
Police say officers responded to the reports of shots being fired shortly before 9 a.m. A nearby ambulance was "flagged down" and a 17-year-old victim was taken to nearby Berkshire Medical Center, where he underwent surgery.
Police, with the Berkshire County sheriff's department and state police, launched a search for two suspects who had fled on foot.
According to scanner reports, a K-9 unit was asked to meet with state police near the scene for an article search at about 10:30 a.m.
The O'Connell's convenience store and gas station at that intersection was roped off with police tape and closed for several hours; a section of nearby Bradford Street was also blocked off.
On Stoddard Avenue, police were outside of a green and white duplex where the porch, too, had been roped off. Possible witnesses were being interviewed near the home.
Police believe at least two more people were involved in the shooting and are asking any one with information to contact the Detective Bureau at 413-448-9705.