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Driver Killed in Howland Avenue Collision

Staff Reports

Update at 5:37 p.m.: Ethan Piaggi-Cornell of Pittsfield, 23, was killed in Thursday morning's accident in Adams.

Piaggi-Cornell was driving a 2001 Hyundai Sonata north when he collided with a stopped flatbed tow truck on Howland Avenue in Adams at around 11:15 a.m.

Initial reports were that he was taken elsewhere by Life Flight but district attorney's office states he was pronounced dead at Berkshire Medical Center.

The body was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Holyoke, where an autopsy will be conducted.

Piaggi-Cornell was a 2012 graduate of Hoosac Valley High School. He was most recently employed as a line cook by Arizona Pizza in Pittsfield, according to his Facebook page.

The investigation is being conducted by members of the Adams Police Department, the Berkshire Detective Unit of the State Police assigned to the district attorney's office, the Massachusetts State Police Collision Analysis Reconstruction and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement sections.
 



ADAMS, Mass. — A motorist sustained serious injuries after his car collided with a flatbed wrecker on Howland Avenue late Thursday morning.

The northbound Sayers wrecker, with a car on the flatbed, was in the left lane to turn into Gene's Sales and Service when the small Sonata sedan collided with its rear bumper.

"It appears that the wrecker was stopped to make a lefthand turn when it was struck from the rear by the white Sonata, which was operated by a single person," said Police Richard Tarsa shortly before 1 p.m.. "Upon impact, the operator sustained severe injuries including massive head trauma."

Tarsa said the driver was taken to Berkshire Medical Center's North Adams campus and Life-Flighted from there. He was not sure at that point where the individual was taken. The driver of the wrecker was not injured.

The car suffered severe damage to its front driver's side, where it collided with the flatbed. The area was taped off and traffic was detoured over East Road between Lime Street and Hodges Cross Road for more than two hours.

The investigation is in the early stages, Tarsa said. "There are witnesses and we are gathering that information."

The state police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section and members of the Berkshire County Law Enforcement Task Force were assisting Adams Police.

     

Sprinkler System Saves Louison House

By Jack Guerino
iBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass — Twelve Louison House residents were displaced after a small attic fire that was largely extinguished by the house’s sprinkler system.

Assistant Fire Chief John Pansecchi said the electrical fire broke out in the attic around 11:45 Sunday morning but was quickly snuffed out by the family support center’s sprinkler system.

“There were no injuries and minimal fire damage, and I can’t stress enough how much the sprinkler system probably saved that building,” Pansecchi said. "The sprinklers put the fire out in the area so basically we just investigated and tried to determine the cause.”

He said the water damage was caused by the sprinkler system and two families and four individuals were put up at a nearby hotel. The Louison House and the Red Cross provided this support.

It is unknown at this point when residents can move back into the house; the building inspector must make a ruling first.

Pansecchi said the Adams Police and Ambulance were present and Cheshire Fire covered the Adams Station.

Pansecchi said the knockdown was a great success and went smoothly.

“It was a success,” he said. “It was an hour and a half for us there compared to the four hours we spent on Park Street.”

     

Structure Fire Closes Park Street in Adams; Four Families Homeless

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff

Complete write-thru at 6 p.m.

ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters from around Northern Berkshire County spent Friday afternoon battling a stubborn structure fire at 72 Park St.

Flames could be seen shooting out from under the roof of the building, which houses Carolyn's Tax Service on the first floor and four apartments on the top two floors, where several young children lived.

It took several dozen firefighters more than an hour to contain the blaze that started in a kitchen on the third floor. Fire Chief Paul Goyette described the smokey blaze as "95 percent contained" about 4 p.m., nearly three hours after it was first reported.

No one was injured in the fire but an Adams firefighter was overcome by heat and taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Park Street was closed to traffic and motorists were detoured at Hoosac and Center streets. Some mutual aid units began leaving about 5:30.

Goyette said the call came in as an alarm activation at about 1:15 p.m. and, when firefighters arrived, they found a fire on a stove on the third floor.

"That fire was extinguished but it appeared to enter the attic through the ductwork," he said.

The building was occupied at the time but Goyette did not know how many people were in the building. Everyone was evacuated from the four apartments, and the building searched. A second search was also done to verify no one was inside. Two cats were removed and treated at the scene with oxygen and a third was found safe after the fire was out.

Heavy smoke roiled from the roof line, occasionally blanketing the town's main street in a smokey haze. Bystanders watched the action from the sidewalks as the street filled with personnel and equipment from seven different departments: Adams, North Adams, Cheshire, Clarksburg, Dalton, Lanesborough and Williamstown. Yellow tape was strung along light posts and signs to keep people out of the way.

The Williamstown and Adams ladder trucks mounted a two-pronged water attack on the roof line and the attic of the three-story building, as flames licked out from the eaves.

North Adams and Adams ambulance services set up a rehab center on the lawn of the Adams Free Library to hydrate and cool firefighters rotated out from the action. State police and sheriff's deputies blocked the street from traffic.

"It took us a good hour to knock the fire down because we had to keep chasing," said Goyette. Above the attic, "we found three layers of attic plus we had to start opening up the roof. It was labor intensive. That was the reasoning for calling in a lot of mutual aid companies to get fresh people here to the staging area."

The temperature hovered around 80 degrees with an infrequent breeze. One firefighter at the base of the ladder truck was overcome by the heat and carefully removed by a swarm of firefighters and emergency medical technicians.

Carolyn and Thomas Chalifoux of Carolyn's Tax Service were on their way to their lake cabin in Vermont went they got the call in Bennington that the building was on fire.

"We turned around and came back," said Thomas Chalifoux, watching from the sidewalk. They were concerned about the computers and files in their offices, but Goyette said firefighters were able to cover everything with tarps.

"Things look good there, it doesn't look like they've lost anything," he said.

Other buildings nearby were emptied as well. Arlene Schneider of the Cutting Edge Salon in the building next door said she didn't know anything was going on until firefighters came in and told she had to evacuate.

Trevor Crombie, who bought the building also known as the Dawson Block in 2004, was at the scene.

A GoFundMe has been set up for one of the families displaced in the blaze. Holly Dix and Mike Burns and their three children were not home at the time but their cat was rescued. Another fundraising page has been set up for Marcus and Heather Moore and their two children.

Firefighters were tossing items out the attic, cutting open the roof and chasing hotspots by 4 p.m. The state fire marshal was being called in to the investigation and the building's occupants were not expected to be able to return. Goyette couldn't say what the damage was at this point. Or when the street would reopen.

"The Fire Department owns Park Street at this point."

 

 

     

Adams Police Warn of Car Break-ins

ADAMS, Mass. — The Adams Police Department is currently investigating several car break-ins. These have occurred over the past several days during the evening or early morning hours.

The breaks have involved mostly unlocked vehicles. If you have any information regarding these breaks please contact police at 413-743-1212.

Here are some safety tips to help prevent car break-ins:

  • Always lock your car doors.
  • Keep the windows and sunroofs closed when the vehicle is not in use.
  • Do not leave the vehicle running and unlocked. Even a locked and running vehicle presents the opportunity for theft.
  • Do not leave anything of value in plain sight.
  • Do not leave packages or store purchases inside the car. Lock them in the trunk or cover them in the cargo area of your SUV.
  • Park your vehicle in a well-lit or open area.
  • Report any suspicious activity when and where it is occurring. Do not wait until the next day to report it.

There are no "fool proof" ways of totally preventing car break-ins, said Police Chief Richard Tarsa Jr. However, if you take the extra steps it limits the opportunity of it happening to you.

 

     

Adams Head-On Collision Results in Fatality

Staff Reports

ADAMS, Mass. — A 17-year-old North Adams man was killed in a head-on collision early Saturday evening on North Summer Street. Three other people were injured.

Zackary Decker, a student at Drury High School, suffered severe injuries to his head and neck after being ejected from vehicle he was in. He died shortly afterward at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.

"It is with profound sadness that I write this letter to the community of the North Adams Public Schools," wrote Superintendent James Montepare on the  North Adams Public Schools' website on Monday. "Zackary Decker, a student at Drury High School, died as a result of injuries from an automobile accident Saturday evening. On behalf of the district I extend our sympathies to his family, friends and classmates."

It was also stated that grief counseling and support services were being provided to any students or staff members in need. Information on grief and trauma was also provided for parents and students on the website. Montepare said there would be a team of school counselors and that the North Adams Police Department would ensure that "school is a safe environment for your children."

The crash was reported at 5:14 p.m. on Saturday, near the intersection with Staple Street.

According to police, Gregory Bartlett of Lime Street was southbound on North Summer in his 2014 Mazda when James Morandi of Hall Street, North Adams, veered into his path in a 1999 Toyota Corolla.

Decker's name and condition were not immediately available on Saturday night; police confirmed there was a fatality on Sunday. Two others were taken by ambulance to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield and the fourth was taken by a relative.

The state police accident reconstruction team and Crime Scene Services were requested. The accident is under investigation by Adams Police and state police detectives.

Morandi is a student at Berkshire Arts & Technology Public Charter School; his other passenger has not been identified. Bartlett was the sole occupant in his vehicle.

Officer Michael Wandrei said charges are expected to be filed once the investigation is completed. "We have a lot to go through first," he said.

Adams Ambulance Service, North Adams Ambulance Service and the Adams Fire Department responded to the scene. That section of road was closed until the vehicles were removed at about 8:30 p.m.

     
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