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North Berkshire Man Arrested in Killing of Former County Resident

Staff Reports

WILIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A North Adams man was arrested Thursday night in relation to the homicide of a former Berkshire County resident in Tennessee.

Anthony Hardaway, 34, who also goes by "Toney" or "Tone," is wanted in connection to the shooting of Perry Folk of Johnson City, Tenn.

According to media reports, Folk and Hardaway were believed to know each other. Folk, 38, was found shot to death in the parking lot of the Roadrunner Market convenience store in Johnson City on the night of Feb. 18. He had no identification on him at the time but was identified through fingerprints.

Police were searching for someone in a dark-colored vehicle who could be seen on video surveillance leaving the scene. According to the Johnson City Press, police said there were "numerous witnesses" at the store but no one saw what immediately led to the shooting.

Hardaway was taken into custody without incident by the Berkshire County Special Response Team and state police at a residence in Williamstown. He was tracked by a multi-agency investigation involving the Massachusetts State Police, FBI, police from Williamstown, Pittsfield and the Berkshire Law Enforcement Task Force, and police in Johnson City.

The investigation that led to his arrest was additionally assisted by intelligence gathered by the Troop B Community Action Team for Berkshire County, a uniformed patrol unit.

Hardaway's arraignment as a fugitive from justice and his eventual rendition to Tennessee is being handled by the Berkshire County district attorney's office.

     

Adams Firefighters Rescue Man From Apartment Blaze

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff
Firefighters contained a blaze at 31 Commercial St. and rescued a man trapped on the second floor.

ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters saved a man from the second story of a burning apartment building Thursday night.

The four-unit building at 31 Commercial St. had heavy smoke and flame showing in the back when firefighters arrived, said Fire Chief Paul J. Goyette.

"I got to commend my guys and ladies for the job they did," he said. "The man was basically trapped on the second floor. We put a ladder up and got him out of there.

"It started to get pretty smokey."

All other tenants were evacuated from the building; Goyette did not know how many residents were in the building but said there seemed to be quite a few.

No one was being allowed back in the building that night.  

The cause of the fire was under investigation by Adams Police and the state fire marshal's office.

It apparently began outside on the first level in the back of the building, he said. "We had a pretty heavy fire on arrival but we were able to knock it down pretty quickly."

The department was dispatched at about 9:10 p.m. Officers and firefighters were still at scene at shortly before midnight.

"The operation went very well we had a good turnout," Goyette said. "We had a little trouble with the extension but we were able to knock it down.

"We're trying to get heat and electricity back to the place so it doesn't freeze up."

North Adams Fire Department was called to cover the station and a Cheshire engine company was requested to help spell firefighters working in the frigid cold.

North Adams Ambulance Service responded with the rehab trailer and Adams Ambulance was on scene as well.

The Department of Public Works was also on scene late sanding the icy street.

According to documents on file at the Registry of Deeds, 31 Commercial is owned by Guy Cariddi.

Commercial Street was closed for nearly three hours from the Center Street intersection.

     

Adams Woman Dies in Fire Caused by Candle

By Jack Guerino
iBerkshires Staff
Adams and Cheshire firefighters responded to a reported structure fire on West Street in Adams on Wednesday night.

ADAMS, Mass. — The fire on West Street on Wednesday evening claimed the life of an 88-year-old woman.

Eunice St. Hilaire was killed in the blaze that was started by a candle on a nightstand in her first-floor bedroom.

In a statement, State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan said, "remnants of a candle were found in the area of origin and all other possible causes were ruled out."

St. Hilaire reported lived alone in the single-family home. The Fire Department was notified of the fire by a life-alert type system that included a connection to a smoke alarm.

"This is the second fatal fire in the last two weeks caused by a candle," Coan said. "I would encourage people to switch to battery-operated candles especially in homes with young children, people with disabilities, or pets."

According to the Coan's office, there were 135 candle fires in Massachusetts in 2013 that caused two civilian deaths, 25 civilian injuries, six firefighter injuries and an estimated dollar loss of $4.3 million in damages.

"On behalf of the citizens of Adams and the members of the Fire Department, I offer my deepest condolences to the family. Fire is a terrible way to lose a loved one," said Adams Fire Chief Paul Goyette in a statement.

He added, "We had to dig out the nearest hydrant but had sufficient water from the engine until the hydrant connection was made. If it had been a larger fire, digging out the hydrant might have caused a delay at a time when seconds count. If you are able to adopt a hydrant, the Fire Department and your neighbors would be grateful for your assistance."

West Street is in a heavily settled neighborhood, near the town's center. Witnesses saw St. Hilaire being removed from her home on a stretcher; she was taken to the Northern Berkshire Campus of Berkshire Medical Center.

The fire was jointly investigated by the Adams Fire Department, the Adams Police Department and State Police assigned to both the Office of the State Fire Marshal and to the office of Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless. Assistance was received from an electrical expert, the Code Compliance Unit of the Department of Fire Services' Division of Fire Safety and State Police Crime Scene Services.

The statement from Coan's office was also sent on behalf of Capeless, Goyette and Adams Police Chief Richard Tarsa Jr.
 


 

Adams Fire Extinguished; Resident Taken To Hospital

Original post at 9:13 p.m., Feb. 18, 2015
ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters were able to quickly knock down a West Street fire  on Wednesday night.

The one resident in the home was transported to the Northern Berkshire campus of Berkshire Medical Center in North Adams. The individual's condition and identity was not available.

Fire Chief Paul Goyette said the department responded to reports of sounding fire alarms and smoke in the air at about 7 p.m.. He said the fire started in a bedroom in the 5 West St. building, and firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze swiftly.

"Knockdown was not too bad. Our crews made an entry without aid of a hose line," Goyette said. "We did an initial search and found nothing and then backed out, got a hose line, and we had a visible fire and we knocked the fire down."

Police, Cheshire Fire Department and North Adams and Adams ambulance services responded. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the state fire marshal.

     

Police Investigating Death of Wanted Adams Man

Staff Reports
Police blocked Cherry Street on Friday evening during the investigation of a possible suicide when police where searching for a wanted suspect.

ADAMS, Mass. — A local man with outstanding warrants took his own life Friday night after police entered his home.  

Michael C. Jimenez, 27, of 7 Cherry St. apparently shot himself at about 9 p.m.

A statement released by the Berkshire district attorney's office at about 3 a.m. Saturday said members of the state police Community Action Team had learned that Jimenez was in the Cherry Street home.

Jimenez had outstanding arrest warrants from Hampden Superior Court and Springfield District Court. The statement did not detail the nature of the warrants.

"Troopers were admitted to a residence at 7 Cherry Street and after an inquiry about the whereabouts of the suspect heard a single gunshot. Upon a cautious approach to the second floor, troopers discovered the suspect, deceased," according to the district attorney's office.

No further details were released.

Scanner reports at the time indicated an "active shooter" on Cherry Street and reports of gunshots, including officers being shot at.

"Police were yelling to get back in the house, that guns were drawn," said Erika Brown, who lives two houses up from scene. She added, "it was something you'd see on TV like 'The First 48.'"

There was a heavy police presence at the scene for most of the evening. Adams Police and state police were at the scene, a single-family home near the top of the steep, narrow street. Brown said she saw a young child carried out of the house by police and taken from the scene by ambulance.

It was not clear who else lived in the house or if Jimenez was the owner.

The special response team from Pittsfield had been called but that request was canceled, according to scanner reports.

Both ends of Cherry Street were blocked off and police tape strung across the home's driveway.

State Police Ballistics and Crime Scene Services Sections were assisting in the investigation. Adams Ambulance Service also had personnel at the scene.

Brown, who moved to the neighborhood in November, described it as quiet.

"You barely see anyone around here, no noise, very peaceful," she said. "[Jimenez] came over while my boyfriend was shoveling three days ago and invited us to come down his house sometime."

The street was not reopened until about 1 a.m. but investigators were still inside the house.

The incident remains under investigation.

Complete write-thru and updated information from original posts.

 

     

Ex-Adams Officer Charged With ID Fraud, Prescription Forgery

Staff Reports
Thomas Cook

ADAMS, Mass. — A former Adams Police officer has been charged with trying to get a prescription filled falsely by using another man's identity.

According to a report on MassLive, 35-year-old Thomas Cook of Cheshire was charged in Westfield District Court for "uttering a false prescription, identity fraud, police or witness intimidation, receiving stolen property and attempting to commit a crime."

According to the police report, Cook tried to pass himself off as Todd Syrett, whom he had arrested in 2012. He dropped off a prescription for a stimulant known as methylphenidate (Ritalin, etc) at Westfield CVS and showed Syrett's driver's license to the pharmacist, the report said.

When the real Todd Syrett was texted that the prescription was ready, he contacted the pharmacy, which in turn contacted police, according to MassLive.

Cook was released on personal recognizance Judge Philip Contant after being arraigned.

Police Chief Richard Tarsa said on Wednesday night that Cook was no longer in the town's employ.

"He is no longer an employee of Adams or the Adams Police Department and he officially resigned Tuesday afternoon," he said.

Cook had been on the force for more than four years. He was hired to replace Officer Alan Vigiard, who was charged with possessing child pornography, then laid off because of budget cuts. He was reinstalled in 2010 in part because of a federal grant.

     
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