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Cooking Fire Causes Smoke, Water Damage at North Adams Housing Authority

By Jack Guerino
iBerkshires Staff
North Adams Ambulance Service responded to a small fire at Ashland Park Apartments on Friday afternoon.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters evacuated some residents from the high rise on Friday afternoon after a small cooking fire broke out on the 7th floor.

Fire Director Stephen Meranti said the fire was quickly put out by the sprinkler system.

"Right now we are evacuating because of smoke and water. We do have water all the way from the seventh floor all the way down," Meranti said. "We are checking apartments as we go down through, but the sprinkler system did its job."

Meranti said no one was injured.

The Fire Department was alerted to the situation at about 12:30 p.m., when an alarm was activated in a unit at the Ashland Park Apartments. Scanner reports indicated water was "pouring down the hallways" in the Housing Authority building.

Residents clustered in the community room on the ground floor until being allowed back into their homes.

Executive Director Jennifer Hohn said a few units below the seventh-floor apartment were affected.

"A significant amount of water from the sprinklers has entered the units directly below on all floors," she said. "As a result of water seeping into electrical panels, power to these affected units has been shut off."

Hohn said the Holiday Inn was gracious to offer accommodations and a meal for those residents affected by the fire and its containment.

"There is a chance the power will not be restored by the evening so I have reserved a block of rooms at the Holiday Inn for anybody needing accommodations," she said. "I will update the board when a further assessment of the damage is concluded.

"The important thing is nobody was injured."

Police and North Adams Ambulance Service also responded; Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Police assisted with traffic control as Ashland Street was restricted to one lane.

The incident is under investigation. 

     

North Adams Police Search For Driver Who Hit Pedestrian

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Police are seeking the driver of a dark Pontiac Sunfire who hit a North Adams man on Wednesday night and drove off.

James Dean was struck while crossing State Street to his home at about 7:45 p.m. He was reportedly carrying white laundry bags and attempted get out of the way as the car sped down on him. He was struck and left in the street; a neighbor saw him and was able to get to him before another car came through.

Dean was taken to Berkshire Medical Center by North Adams Ambulance Service with serious injuries.

The incident occurred near 191 State St. Police received several calls that a man had been hit by a vehicle and knocked down in the street.

Initially, police were looking for a black pickup truck, but the victim identified the vehicle as a Sunfire.

Adams Police Department was asked to be on the lookout for a black Pontiac Sunfire with front passenger-side damage.

As of Thursday afternoon, the motorist had not been found and the incident is still under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact North Adams Police at 413-448-9700.

     

North Adams Blaze Leaves Families Without Homes, Pets

Staff Reports
iBerkshires Staff
Firefighters battled

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — At least four people were left homeless Saturday night after a a 2-alarm fire destroyed a four-unit residence on Furnace Street.

On officer on patrol downtown first noticed the smoke billowing above 222-224 Furnace St.,  said Fire Director Stephen Meranti on Sunday. Flames were already coming through the roof when the first firefighters arrived on scene.

"It had a good jump on us," he said. "It's a good thing the building had smoke alarms.  ... They were able to evacuate the building before it got into the apartments."

Kara Delisle was awakened by the alarms in her second-floor apartment in the back of the building. According to posts by a relative on Facebook, "she opened the door and was met by flames that instantly blew into her kitchen as broken glass flew past her face."  

Delisle quickly woke her daughter, Miaah Lynn Southard, and was able to get out of the building. Firefighters also checked the other three units, said Meranti, and were told that one was unoccupied and the two occupants of the other apartments were out — only to come to find their homes ablaze.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Delisle, who lost everything in the fire.

While no one was injured at the scene, Delisle's two cats, Ming and Menelaus, are unaccounted for. A rabbit is also believed to have perished and a dog that was rescued later succumbed to its injuries.

The building was a total loss and was knocked down Sunday as a precautionary measure.

"We couldn't go into the building because it was structurally unsafe," said Meranti. "That made it more difficult."

The structure was located on narrow Furnace Street, which drops off in the back to homes below on Francis, making it harder to access the fire in the rear. Meranti said larger diameter hoses were used to contain the blaze over several hours and prevent it from spreading to nearby homes, but parts of the building were still burning when it was knocked down.

The state fire marshal's office is investigating the cause. Meranti said it appears to have begun on the exterior in the back and moved quickly up into a porch roof and into the attic.

An "all-call" was made for off-duty firefighters to respond; Clarksburg Fire Department also responded and helped cover the city. North Adams Ambulance Service set up its rehab tent to provide some respite from the chilly temperatures and sleet. The department's chaplain, the Rev. David Anderson from First Baptist, also was there and representatives from the Red Cross offered aide to the tenants.

Owner David Andreatta, who lives nearby, was also at the scene. The road was closed to through traffic between Reservoir Road and Walnut until late afternoon on Sunday.

Editor's Note: If anyone knows of fundraising efforts for the other occupants of the building, send to info@iberkshires.com and they will be added to the article.

     

Fatal Accident in North Adams Closes Massachusetts Ave

Staff Reports
iBerkshires

Update at 11:20 p.m., Oct. 16:  Police have identified the victim in Friday's fatal crash as Anthony Corsi, 62, of North Adams.

Corsi was eastbound in a 2010 Rav 4 when it collided with a 2005 GMC utility truck driven Matthew Reynolds, 29, also of North Adams. Reynolds and three minor children who were passengers in the truck were taken by North Adams Ambulance to the Berkshire Medical Center Emergency Facility in North Adams. Their condition was not known.

The accident occurred at about 3:25 p.m. near 541 Massachusetts Ave. North Adams Fire and Police also responded to the scene and Clarksburg Police assisted with control of the scene. The accident is still under investigation.

The road was reopened at about 8 p.m. Traffic was detoured over Route 2, causing backups during the evening rush hour.


NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A head-on collision resulted in a fatality on Friday afternoon. Police are withholding the name of the man killed pending notification of kin.

The crash occurred at about 4 p.m. on Massachusetts Avenue Extension, in the "dip" at the top of the hill, when an eastbound car collided with a westbound truck carrying an adult and three children.

Lt. William Baker said preliminary investigation indicated the car veered into the westbound lane, striking the truck.

The truck's passengers were taken to the Berkshire Medical Center Emergency Facility in North Adams. Baker said he did not know the extent of their injuries but that they did not appear to be serious.

The car had only the male driver.

Both vehicles sustained extensive front-end damage.

The road was blocked between Brown Street and Roberts Drive for about an hour, when the blockade on the east end was moved to just past Tyler Street. Traffic was backed up along Route 2 during the rush hour traffic.

The state police accident reconstruction team arrived shortly after 5 p.m. and the road was expected to be closed for at least a couple hours.

     

North Adams Police Nab Suspected Heroin Dealers

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — North Adams Police have arrested two people after a motor vehicle stop early Thursday morning uncovered nearly 1,000 bags of heroin.

Officers and detectives executed a motor vehicle stop on Blackinton Street at approximately 12:55 a.m. on a red Chrysler sedan bearing Massachusetts registration 648EL9.

The operator of the motor vehicle was identified as Courtney Schnopps, 21, of Protection Avenue, who was found to have an outstanding warrant for her arrest. The passenger of the vehicle was identified as 22-year-old Matthew Capek of Blackinton Street.

Officers on scene had prior information from confidential informants that Schnopps and Capek were traveling to Hartford, Conn., to purchase a large quantity of heroin and transport it back to North Adams for sale. Schnopps and Capek were separated and, according to police, gave elusive answers that were not corroborated.

A K9 was uncovered bags of heroin in the vehicle and Schnopps and Capek also had heroin found on them during their arrest, said police, that matched the same packaging found in the vehicle. Some 990 bags of heroin were seized, with a street value of about $9,740.

There was no money or drug paraphernalia located in the vehicle.

Police said Schnopps and Capek both admitted under questioning to making a trip to Hartford. Capek claimed that the amount of heroin found in the vehicle was for his own personal use, according to police.

Bail for Capek was set at $2,000  and Schnopps was held without bail due to the outstanding warrant.

Both will be charged with possession with intent to distribute Class A substance and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

     
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