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Early Morning Fire Burns Down V's Doghouse
By Andy McKeever On: 08:47AM / Sunday September 28, 2014
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The Lanesborough Fire Department took this photo of the early morning fire.

Update 11:01 a.m. on Oct. 1, 2014:
The Sept. 28 fire at V's Dog House Restaurant was electrical, according state Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan and Lanesborough Fire Chief Charles A. Durfee.


The fire started inside a wall between the kitchen and bar around 4 a.m. The restaurant was closed at the time and there were no injuries. The estimated damage is $700,000. The building did not have fire sprinklers.

The fire was investigated by the Lanesborough Fire Department and state police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal. Assistance was received from an electrical expert and State Police Crime Scene Services.


Update at 4:35 p.m.: The state fire marshal has ruled out arson as the cause of the blaze that destroyed V's Dog House early Sunday morning.

Fire Chief Charlie Durfee said there are two locations in the building that fire investigators are focusing on to determine the cause. He expected them to have an answer by noon Monday. 

The damage is estimated at $700,000, he said. The building (business was previously known as Zen's Dog House) was purchased by Edward L. Vella Jr. in 2009, according to documents in the Registry of Deeds.

Durfee also said the hydrants, owned by the Berkshire Mall, are maintained and functioning but firefighters ran into difficulties getting them open. There are no hydrants on the Route 8 side.

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — V's Doghouse on Route 8 burned to the ground early Sunday morning.

 
Fire Chief Charlie Durfee said there were no injuries in the blaze that was extinguished by volunteer firefighters from more than a half dozen departments. Route 8 is expected to be closed between the Berkshire Mall entrances until the afternoon.
 
"The call came to the Police Department for a window break, which set off the burglar alarm. That's how we knew. The Police saw smoke in the building and called us," Durfee said.
 
Durfee said the call came in at 4:30 a.m. 
 
"Upon arrival we had heavy smoke coming from the eaves and in a matter of 10, 15 minutes we had flames coming from the roof," said Durfee.
 
That triggered an immediate mutual aid call for neighboring departments. Some of the fire hydrants at the Berkshire Mall were not functioning so nearly all of the tankers in Central Berkshire were called in to shuttle water from one working hydrant, Berkshire Pond and a pond behind the restaurant.
 
"We're running about 14,000 gallons of water per trip," Durfee said. "Once we got the tankers rolling, we had all kinds of water."
 
Initially, firefighters mounted an interior attack but the heat and flames became too much. The fire was the fought from the exterior.
 
"The building has a metal roof and that holds the heat in, which feeds the fire. It just kept getting hotter, hotter and hotter. Once it went through the roof there was nothing we could do," Durfee said. "It is a total loss."
 
In total some 50 volunteer firefighters responded from Lanesborough, Richmond, Hinsdale, Dalton, Cheshire, Savoy, Adams Forest Wardens and Hancock. Clarksburg sent a tanker truck to Cheshire because all of the others in central county were in use. Williamstown covered Lanesborough's station. 
 
"For 4:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning, this is a fantastic turnout," Durfee said.
 
The State Fire Marshal's office was on scene to determine the cause of the fire, which is currently unknown. 


     
Possible Abduction Attempt in South Berkshire
Staff Reports On: 09:41PM / Thursday September 18, 2014
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NEW MARLBOROUGH, Mass. — Parents in the Southern Berkshire Regional School District are being advised to be alert after a possible abduction attempt Thursday afternoon.

Authorities say the incident happened about 3:30 on Norfolk Road in New Marlborough as an 11-year-old boy walked home from school.

The boy told investigators he was approached by a man in a gray, four-door car with blue and white New York license plates.

The driver was described as a white man, approximately 30 to 40 years old with a thin build and medium-length black hair that looked a little shaggy.

Anyone who might have seen a vehicle matching this description is asked to call the state police barracks in Lee at 413-243-0600.

In a letter to parents, Mount Everett Regional School Principal Glenn Devoti said the suspicious man "may have attempted to abduct a 6th grade elementary student."

The police and bus company were notified, wrote Devoti.

The New Marlborough Police Department, state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's Office and state troopers from the Lee barracks are investigating.

"Please be cautious about leaving students unsupervised at bus stops and notify police or school personnel if you observe anyone matching this description or observe any other suspicious behavior," he asked.

Lanesborough Police were also looking for a New York vehicle earlier this week, that one a red sedan, possibly a late 1990s model similar to a Pontiac Grand Am, and operated by an older white man with facial hair.

In that case, police said the car had been seen around school bus stops in Lanesborough and they wished to speak with the operator.



     
Crash On Mall Road Sends Four to the Hospital
By Andy McKeever On: 09:23PM / Thursday December 26, 2013
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State Police closed off the Mall Road at the intersection of Route 7.

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — A two-car crash closed the Mall Road for about two hours Thursday night and sent four to the hospital.

According to Police Officer Brad Lepicier, two sedans collided on what is officially known as the Route 7/8 Connector Road and one vehicle had caught on fire.

Bystanders pulled three people from the burning vehicle and they were transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield. The driver of the other vehicle, who was traveling eastbound, was also transported to the hospital.

"All four people were transported to the hospital," Lepicier said, later adding that "bystanders pulled three people out of the car that was on fire before I got there."

The extent of the injuries is not known at this time but initial scanner reports indicated the injuries were "serious."

On Thursday night, Lepicier said he had not determined a cause of the crash and is not yet releasing the names of those involved.

Police immediately closed the road after responding to the call at about 7:30 p.m. and Cheshire Police and State Police were stationed at each end: Cheshire near the Berkshire Mall and state police at the intersection of Route 7. Lanesborough Fire and Ambulance responded as did County Ambulance.

The road was reopened at about 9:30 p.m. The accident happened near the top of the long, steep Connector Road, which was recently rebuilt. Snow and ice during the day Thursday created dangerous conditions on many county roads. The Mall Road call was the second major accident Lanesborough Police responded to on Thursday. They were also called to assist Williamstown Police in response to a head-on collision on Route 7 earlier in the day.



     
Lanesborough's Foam House Burns Down
By Andy McKeever On: 03:45PM / Thursday October 31, 2013
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A fire completely destroyed the National Street home. At left as seen in a realty advertisement.

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The foam house on National Street  burned to the ground Thursday afternoon.

The seasonal home is somewhat of a local landmark. The foam created a rounded, bubble-like appearance which led many to dub it  "The Flintstone House."

According to Fire Chief Charlie Durfee, firefighters responded to the fully engulfed structure fire shortly after 2 p.m. on Thursday.

The house, a wooden structure encased in foam, was already mostly burnt and the firefighters launched a "surround and drown" attack to prevent the flames from damaging nearby properties.

"I was on Narragansett Street, came around the corner and saw this house fully involved and called in a structure fire," Durfee said. "It's the foam house at the bottom on National Street and was built right around 1972."

The foam fueled the fire and the focus was on protecting nearby properties, Durfee said. The flames were so hot that they dried up leaves wet from the rain and threatened to spread. Pieces of foam flew in the sky and littered nearby properties.

The electric was shut off after the wires caught fire.

Durfee said he immediately called in support from Cheshire and Pittsfield and attacked the fire from both National Street and from Imperial Street — which runs parallel — to put out the flames in about 45 minutes. County Ambulance responded on scene as well.

The building at 45 National St. is used seasonally and no one was there at the time. It is owned by Denise Barrierre of Rhode Island. The small structure had one bedroom and one bath and was about a 1,000 square feet in size.

It was built in the 1970s with foam with a focus on being energy efficient. There were no firefighters injured in the process of knocking down the flames during the heavy rain.

The cause is undetermined after a fire inspector arrived on the scene Thursday afternoon.



     
Pittsfield Police Asking Residents To ID Stolen Property
By Andy McKeever On: 02:19PM / Tuesday June 04, 2013
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police have recovered hundreds of pieces of jewelry and other items that are not matching up with their records of items reported stolen in a recent rash of break-ins.

Anyone who has had their home broken into prior to March 22 is being asked to identify their possessions at an open house on Saturday, June 8, from 10 to 2 at the Police Department on Allen Street.

Police say the items either haven't been reported stolen or were stolen from homes outside of city. The investigation is being done by state, Cheshire, Lanesborough and Pittsfield police. Some of the recovered property has already be linked to break-ins in those communities and in Richmond.

Police have arrested Christopher Maschino Jr., 21, and Anne Haughey, 21, both of Pittsfield, in connection with the break-ins.

Even if the owners of the seized property can identify it, they cannot take possession of their items immediately because they are being held as evidence until released by the district attorney's office.

Attendees are required to bring a valid identification to the open house and are asked to bring any ownership documents.



     
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