Arsonist Targets 8 Buildings in Great Barrington
Update: Thursday, 10 p.m.: Red Crow News reports that artist David Pixley, 62, was arraigned Thursday morning in Southern Berkshire District Court on on two of counts of arson, five of attempting to burn buildings, and three of attempting to burn vehicles.
Pixley is being held on $50,000 bail after being caught by police in the early morning hours allegedly trying to set a fire at TD Banknorth. Pixley allgedy fled the scene, according to Red Crow News, and police gave chase, taking him into custody at his 20 Hollenbeck Ave. apartment.
Update Thursday, 10:48 a.m.: Police have arrested a suspect in connection with at least two of Wednesday's arson fires in Great Barrington. The unidentified man was arrested at about 2 a.m. on Thursday morning when he was found in the parking lot of TD Banknorth on 271 Main St., allegedly in the act of trying to start yet another fire.
Debris behind Barrington Outfitters. The back of the building sustained damage after someone set fire to it.
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Eight buildings in the downtown and three motor vehicles were targeted by an unknown arsonist early Wednesday morning. Police are looking for a man wearing a dark-colored poncho and black North Face winter gloves.
Fires were set at Barrington Outfitters on Main Street and Lee Bank; combustibles were found in the other locations but no fires set, according to authorities.
The blazes occurred at about 1:40 a.m., according to a statement from Town Manager Kevin O'Donnell, and were brought under control by the Fire Department and four mutual aid towns. No one was injured in either case.
"Police investigation determined that the fires were set. Five other buildings, Shopper's Guide, Foster's Hardware, Toole Insurance Agency, Berkshire Block and Gypsy Joynt, locations adjacent to the Foster's Hardware parking lot, were also targeted as well as the Tune Street building on Railroad Street with combustibles and flammable liquids, but were not set on fire. Three vehicles in the Foster's parking lot had flammable liquid applied to them, but were not burned."
Barrington Outfitters was closed earlier this morning while police and contractors assessed the damage, which was done to the back of the store. Police and the owners, the Druckers, declined to comment on the blaze.
The second fire started in a vacant store front in the Lee Bank building that was left unlocked. Fire Chief Harry Jennings used the town's reverse 911 system to notify business owners about clearing debris and securing their businesses properly at night.
Police picked up a homeless man, 19-year-old Matthew Wilcox of Egremont Plain Road, who they said broke into the storage shed behind Barrington Outfitters. According to the town statement, police do not believe Wilcox was involved in the fires but he has not been ruled out. He was arraigned this morning in Southern Berkshire District Court on charges of breaking and entering and trespassing.
Police are working with the state police Crime Scene Services, troopers assigned to the state fire marshal's office and district attorney's office, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. They canvassed the downtown area and distributed a photo of the suspect.
The fire marshal's Arson Reward Program offers up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Anyone with information is asked to call 800-682-9229 or Police Chief William Walsh at 413-528-0306.
|Tags: fire, structure, arson|
Great Barrington Crashes Leave Two Dead
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Police are investigating two serious motor vehicle crashes on Wednesday afternoon that left two dead.
According to police, the first accident occurred at 12:50 p.m. Janet E. Chase, 62, of Sheffield died on the scene when her BMW sedan veered into the northbound lane of Route 7, just north of the Sheffield/Great Barrington line, and crashed head-on with a Honda minivan in the northbound lane. The van was driven by Maureen L Boisvert, 50, of Needham. Boisvert was taken to Berkshire Medical Center with severe injuries.
While state and local police were investigating that accident, a vehicle backing out of Timberlyn Heights nursing home on Maple Avenue (Route 23) was struck by a westbound vehicle. Phillip Hoffman, 90, of Sandisfield died at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield overnight as a result of the crash. His wife, Ann, 88, is at Berkshire Medical Center with "life-threatening injuries" as of Thursday.
The other driver, Brian K. Deland, Jr., 34, of Ashley Falls, was treated and released from Fairview Hospital.
That accident occurred at 3:10 p.m. and is being investigated by state and local police.
Also last night a Jeep Cherokee collided with a tractor-trailer near the New York state border on Route 20 in Hancock.The driver of the Jeep was taken to Berkshire Medical Center while the driver of the truck was unhurt. Route 20 was shut down for more than an hour.
|Tags: fatal, motor vehicle, accident, injuries|
Bones Found in Great Barrington May Be Human
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Bones discovered on Monday evening across from the Kmart department store are being handed over to a forensic anthropologist.
Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless said a young boy playing along the bank of the Housatonic River discovered the bones sticking out of the sand and dug them out. The boy and his mother brought the bones to the Great Barrington Police Department, which notified the State Police Detective Unit assigned to the district attorney's office.
The bones were transported Tuesday morning to the Holyoke office of the chief medical examiner. Associate Chief Medical Examiner Andrew Sexton made a preliminary determination that the bones may be human, and they will be forwarded to the main office in Boston for an examination by a forensic anthropologist.
|Tags: bones, remains|
Car Hits Two Houses in Great Barrington
One of our readers in Great Barrington reports that a motorist slammed into two houses and trees on East Street on Sunday afternoon.
According to report, the driver, a young woman, lost control of her sport utility vehicle while southbound toward the intersection of Cottage and East streets. She ran into the south side of one house and into the yard, hitting two trees and then into the west side of another house.
Police and fire responded to a call at 3:30 p.m. for a car into a house at 68 East St. On arrival, Great Barrington Fire Chief Harry Jennings reported a SUV had hit two houses and damaged one tree.
No one was reportedly injured and the name of the driver was not immediately released. Police are investigating the accident.
|Tags: motor vehicle, accident, house|
Train Sparks Brush Fire in Great Barrington
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — One of our readers in Great Barrington reports that the Fire Department responded to a brush fire along the railroad tracks on Taconic Avenue on Monday afternoon.
The call came in around 3:30 p.m. that a train passing south along the Housatonic Railroad tracks sparked a fire in the dry vegetation that spread. The train reportedly continued to Canaan, Conn., where it was contacted. Luckily, it did not spark more blazes as it moved south.
It took firefighters only about 10 minutes to bring the blaze under control and they returned to headquarters around 4:15. Egremont Fire Department was put on standby for Great Barrington.
|Tags: fire, railroad|