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Crane Collision in Adams Sends One to Hospital

ADAMS, Mass. — A Thursday morning accident sent one person to the hospital and caused a spill of hydraulic fluid at Specialty Minerals Inc. 
 
The Adams Fire Department, Adams Ambulance, and Adams Police were detailed to Columbia Street at 6:38 a.m. Thursday for report of a vehicle versus crane accident with injuries. 
 
According to the report by the Fire Department, a box truck had struck the crane at the entrance to Specialty Minerals Inc. The operator of the box truck was injured and still in the vehicle. The crane operator did appear to be injured. 
 
The crane was hit near its hydraulic tank, causing a large spill. "Thanks to the expertise of employees of Specialty Minerals and Adams Excavating," they grabbed booms and spread an absorbant to contain the spill to the area immediately around the accident scene," the Fire Department post on Facebook states. "I believe preventing any potential for long-term environmental effects."
 
Fire and ambulance personnel removed the victim from the vehicle and he was transported to the hospital (unknown condition at this time). The remaining fire personnel assisted by the above named companies start the process to clean up.
 
"I would like to thank the employees of Specialty Minerals and Adams Excavating for their quick response and assistance. They were able to provide the Fire Department with materials to absorb up the spill," the Facebook post states. "They had the expertise and equipment to assist in cleaning up the site and preparing for the proper removal of all the dirty absorbent. The DEP and all necessary agencies were notified as required by law."
     

Adams Woman Charged in Fatal Hit & Run

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — An Adams woman has been charged in the hit-and-run accident last month that resulted in the death 38-year-old Jerome "Jeremy" Berard.
 
Debra M. Milesi, 57, of Jordan St. was arraigned in Northern Berkshire District Court on Monday afternoon on single counts of leaving the scene of a personal injury accident resulting in death, of motor vehicle homicide while under the influence of alcohol and of negligent operation of a motor vehicle. 
 
Berard, of North Adams, was found laying on the side of East Hoosac Street in Adams around 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29. Berard had incurred severe injuries including broken limbs and head trauma. He was taken to the Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield and died there a week later, on Oct. 7.
 
According to authorities, the officer who discovered Berard was on his way to back up another officer who had stopped Milesi near the corner of Meadow and East Hoosac, not far from where Berard was hit. Milesi was also taken to BMC in Pittsfield from which she was later released. 
 
Berard left two children, ages 10 and 17, and a fiancee. He was a graduate of McCann Technical School and was employed by Whitman Crystal Cleaning at the time of his death.
 
Judge William Rota released Milesi on $1,000 bail and on the condition that she wear a GPS monitor. She is under 24-hour house arrest and cannot drive or leave the state. A pre-trial hearing has been set for Oct. 29.
 
The investigation was conducted by members of the Adams Police Department with assistance from state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's Office and the Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section and Crime Scene Service Section of the state police.
     

Barn Destroyed in Early Morning Fire in Adams

Staff Reports

Cows walk in front of the fire on their way to the barn.
ADAMS, Mass. — An early morning fire at Ziemba's farm on Walling Road destroyed a hay-filled barn complex.
 
Firefighters from nearly a dozen fire departments spent hours containing the blaze and preventing it from spreading to adjacent buildings and the farmhouse at Broadlawn Farm.
 
"The back barn was fully involved when we got here and the owners were trying to get the cows out," said Fire Chief John Pansecchi during a pause around 5:30 a.m., nearly three hours after the fire was first reported. "By the time we got here [the barns] were gone."
 
Pansecchi believed all or most of the dairy cattle were saved but the barn was also filled with hay that has continued to smolder and burn. He expected it would take hours to break up the bales and said they were looking for an excavator to tear the ruins apart. The cause is suspected to be electrical but he said it would be some time before it could be investigated. 
 
In addition to the Adams Fire Department and Forest Wardens, tankers and equipment also came from Cheshire, Clarksburg, Dalton, Florida, Lanesborough, Windsor and Savoy, and Stamford, Vt. The Adams Ambulance Service and Northern Berkshire EMS were also on the scene. Trucks and vehicles lined narrow Walling Road by the farm. Readsboro, Vt., sent a tanker to standby in Stamford — the only one immediately available to cover North County.
 
The fire chief wasn't sure if the barn was two or three segments. It was a long structure behind the milking barn with grain storage in another area at one end. 
 
"They've got a grain storage at the other end we're trying to protect," he said. "The immediate concern was the milking house and the grain and this barn that hasn't burned." 
 
Tankers were filling up at water source at the bottom of Walling and East Mountain roads and a hydrant on East Road. Two portable tanks, or pools, were set up in the farm's driveway and tankers backed up to fill them and then left to replenish. That had been going on for hours and was expected to continue for some time. 
 
"We've got probably 2,000 gallons in our trucks and it doesn't take long to go through that," Pansecchi said. Crews were looking for a third water source because using the hydrant had drained the water tank it was connected to by nearly half. "It's tough because you're frustrated for water to get here."
 
As firefighters continued to douse the blaze, the cows made their way to the milking barn, silhouetted against the flames. The farm has about 300 cows and has been in the family for almost a century. 
 
"We're going to be here for a while. We have to break up all the bales of hay ... now it's going to be labor-intensive," Pansecchi said. "These guys did a great job, everybody worked well here." 
     

Charge of Leaving the Scene Dropped in Fatal Adams Incident

Staff Reports
ADAMS, Mass. — A charge of leaving the scene of fatal accident lodged against a local businessman has been dropped.
 
Instead, David I. Sookey Jr. had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on Monday in Berkshire Superior Court in Pittsfield for a single count of misleading, impeding and obstructing a police investigation.
 
Sookey, 61, allegedly ran over 85-year-old Theresa Marby on Feb. 16 when he exited his parking spot next to the Oasis Liquor Store on Dean Street. He told police at the time that he did not see Marby and thought he'd hit a pothole before leaving the area. Police allege that he provided misleading information related to his knowledge about the events of that day.
 
The single count of leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, death resulting, which he was arraigned on in February, will be dismissed in Northern Berkshire District Court in the near future, according to the district attorney's office. 
 
Sookey appeared before Judge Mark Mason on Monday and was released on $10,000 bail.
     

Adams Firefighters Battle Apartment Building Blaze

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters from Adams and Cheshire were able to contain a major structure fire on the thickly settled Maple Street early Thursday morning. 
 
No one was injured in the fire but two dogs were thought to be still inside. 
 
Fire Chief John Pansecchi said he was the first on the scene at 60 Maple St. The blaze was first reported a little after midnight. 
 
"We had heavy fire on the second floor, heavy smoke showing," he said. "There was heavy heat right from the get-go."
 
Firefighters took up a defensive position and called in Cheshire Fire Department for mutual aid. Clarksburg Fire Department also sent a truck to cover the Adams station. 
 
Pansecchi said the fire was believed to have ignited in a kitchen on the second then worked its way into the attic and through the roof. 
 
The rear upper porch of the double-decker was engulfed in flames by 12:30 a.m. and about an hour later, the roof had burned through. One of the two brick chimneys collapsed, slightly damaging a nearby house. As the blaze was brought under control, thick smoke filled the air. 
 
Firefighters attacked with hoses on the rear and side of the building and used the ladder truck to reach the upper floors. Pansecchi said one hydrant ran out of water and a second one had to be opened. There were some issues in getting the trucks under some low hanging electrical wires that crossed the street to 60 Maple an adjacent house but firefighters were able to maneuver around them. 
 
It was not clear how many people were living in the building, which may have four apartments. Pansecchi said the first floor was occupied and those tenants were able to get out. There was no one in the upper floors at the time of the fire.
 
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Pansecchi said the state fire marshal was called and would be at the scene later Thursday morning.
 
The building dates to 1900 and is listed as being owned by MMD Properties LLC. It was most recently sold in 2013. 
 
Adams Ambulance and North Adams Ambulance services set up a rehab tent with water and coffee for the tired firefighters. Pansecchi called them a godsend and said two firefighters were checked out by the emergency medical technicians as a precaution. 
 
 "The guys did a great job," the fire chief said. "They worked their butts off."
     
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