Investigators determined that the fire was accidental and caused by improper disposal of smoking materials.
Mayor Daniel Bianchi received a briefing of the incident from Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — An Orchard Street fire that killed a city woman early Sunday morning is being considered an accident.
The body of Claudette Roberts, 59, was discovered by firefighters in her first-floor apartment at 91 Orchard St.
"Right now there are no flags pointing to it as suspicious," said Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski at the scene. "We're looking for an accidental cause. Most of the fire was contained to the apartment of origin."
The three-alarm blaze was reported by a number of 911 calls at about 4:16 a.m. Czerwinski said they were notified that someone was likely still in the apartment and firefighters mounted "an aggressive attack" on the unit.
It was not clear when the fire began but smoke was pouring out onto the porch and flames could be seen in the unit when firefighters arrived.
There was heavy fire damage to Roberts' apartment on the right side of the three-apartment building and to the rear of the second-floor. Czerwinski estimated the damage at about $100,000 but thought the building was salvageable.
Four people living in the other two apartments had to flee the building. The Red Cross was aiding them in finding shelter for the short-term. Roberts lived alone.
A state fire marshal was at the scene and North Adams Fire Director and Wire Inspector Stephen Meranti was inspecting the wiring at the city's request. The investigation is being conducted by the office of the fire marshal, the Pittsfield Fire and Police departments and the state police Crime Scene Services Section.
The Dalton Fire Department also responded to the scene and Lenox and Lanesborough provided backup.
According to the district attorney's office, Roberts' body will be taken to the office of the chief medical examiner in Boston, where an autopsy will be performed, likely on Monday.
There was some damage to the second floor apartment so the residents are displaced.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police are looking for a woman who robbbed the Greylock Federal Credit Union branch located at 71 Elm St. on Friday afternoon.
The woman, dressed in dark clothing and wearing a baseball style hat and sunglasses, entered the branch about 4:30 p.m., according to police. She did not display a weapon and fled the bank with an undisclosed sum of money shortly afterward.
Several witnesses reported the suspect ran from the bank and in the direction of Harry's Supermarket. Somewhere near the supermarket, she possibly entered a dark colored sedan and left the area.
All available patrol units responded to the scene and secured the bank and performed an area search for the suspect and witnesses. Pittsfield detective and Crime Scene personnel responded as well. Greylock Federal Credit Union personnel are cooperating fully with the Police Department in the investigation.
The investigatin is ongoing and police are actively pursuing all leads. Any citizen with any information pertaining to this robbery is urged to contact the Pittsfield Police Department Detective Bureau at 413-448-9705.
Berkshire County Men Graduate From State Police Academy
WORCESTOR< Mass. — Two Berkshire County residents were among the first graduating state police class in five years.
Justin A. Kruszyna of Cheshire and Ryan E. Mauer of Pittsfield on Friday joined the ranks of the Massachusetts State Police with the 80th Recruit Training Troop. The 208 trainees were appointed to the rank of trooper at the DCU Center in Worcester.
Gov. Deval Patrick, Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, Public Safety Secretary Mary Beth Heffernan and state police Col. Marian McGovern welcomed the graduates and Patrick addressed them and administered the oath to the troopers.
"These graduates hold the honor of being the largest, most highly trained class the academy has ever produced, and the first in over five years," said Patrick. "I am pleased that we were able to secure the resources to make this happen for the state police class, which includes some of the bravest, strongest and smartest citizens from every corner of the commonwealth."
This is the largest graduating class in the history of the state police and the first since 2006. It includes former police officers, firefighters, attorneys, health-care professionals, military sergeants, business professionals and teachers. One hundred and three are veterans, 80 of whom served tours of duty in Afghanistan, Iraq or both.
Their traning began in mid-October and lasted 21 weeks. Curriculum included classroom study, physical training, defensive tactics and real-world law enforcement scenarios. These graduates participated in more than 75 scenario-based exercises during the course of their training along with traditional academic and physical training.
Early next week, the new troopers will begin a three-month break-in period during which they will be assigned to road patrols with a field training officer.
Because of attrition, the state is down approximately 500 troopers from its most recent high point in fall 2006. The new troopers will increase police presence on state highways and roads, as all of the trainees will begin their careers as road troopers.
"Your commandant, your training directors, your drill instructors, your firearms and fitness and defensive tactics instructors have all given you the tools you need to succeed," said McGovern. "That is, all the tools but one. The final piece, the quality upon which all the other skills and tools depend, is found inside each one of you."
Greylock Federal Teller Facing Embezzlement Charges
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Greylock Federal Credit Union has released a statement related to the arraignment of one of its head tellers in Central Berkshire District Court on Monday morning.
Felisa Kazimierczak, 43, of Adams was charged with embezzlement for allegedly stealing $58,000 from Greylock. According to the Berkshire Eagle, she also faces charges for allegedly lying to police about a threatening note targeting her teenage daughter.
Officials at Greylock declined to speak on the issue. Greylock's statement reads:
"Greylock Federal Credit Union is among a number of local businesses that have been victimized by the recent criminal activity in Pittsfield.
We are assisting state and local law enforcement officials in their investigations.
Fortunately, Greylock is protected and fully insured so that the criminal activity did not impact Greylock’s financial strength and stability.
At the request of law enforcement we are providing no additional details at this time so that they can properly complete their investigation.
We remain fully committed to meeting the financial needs of our more than 70,000 Member/Owners and to supporting law enforcement officials in their efforts to make our community safer."
Attorney Files For Dismissal In Nilan Case
Staff Reports On: 11:23PM / Thursday March 01, 2012
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A controversial hit-and-run case took another twist on Wednesday afternoon when defendant Meredith D. Nilan's attorney filed a motion to dismiss.
According to a report on Masslive.com on Thursday, attorney Timothy Shugrue filed the motion because copies of a show-cause hearing in January and following appeal hearing were not available. Shugrue told Masslive that "no one appears to know where they went."
Nilan, 24, daughter of Berkshire Superior Court Probation Chief Clifford Nilan, was charged Wednesday morning with leaving the scene of personal-injury accident and negligent operation of a vehicle.
Police say Nilan hit Peter Moore, 45, a hospital administrator, on Winesap Road on evening of Dec. 8, 2011, as he was walking his dog. Moore suffered severe injuries including a broken neck and brain trauma.