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Pittsfield Police: Reports Of Luring Attempts At Reid Proved False

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Reports that someone had been trying to lure Reid Middle School students into a van in March have proved to be false.
 
Police released a statement on Wednesday saying one of the alleged victims admitted the story was fake and no attempt had occurred.
 
On March 23, two girls reported that a man in a blue van attempted to lure them into it as they walked to school. The investigation "brought to light several inconsistencies in the victim's statements," police said. 
 
"When confronted with the contradictory evidence, one victim's family declined to participate in the investigation any further, and the other female declined to respond in a way that would explain why her story did not match contradictory evidence. At this time, it appears both reports were false and that there was no actual incident involving a blue van," police wrote in a statement.
 
Five days later another report was made by a juvenile man who reported that a man in a white pickup truck told him to get in as the student left the school. Again police found contradictory evidence and ultimately the alleged victim "admitted that the story was a fabrication and that no luring attempt had taken place."
 
The reports of some one trying to lure students trigger alarm among parents and school officials. The School Department issued a call asking for parents to pick up their children at the school and to be aware of the events. 
 
"In both cases, the members of the Pittsfield Public School system and the Pittsfield Police Department worked closely together to ensure the safety of our children and our community. Incidents of this nature are given the highest priority over other matters and require a great deal of our finite manpower resources to investigate. We would ask that parents of school age children take this opportunity to discuss the importance of being truthful when reporting incidents or interacting with the police," the statement reads.
     

Fire Damages Pittsfield Apartment Kitchen

Staff Reports

The fire was confined to the kitchen area.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A fire caused by cooking caused damage to a Columbus Avenue kitchen.
 
Deputy Fire Chief Daniel Garner reported that at 8 p.m. firefighters were called to 324 Columbus Avenue for report of a structure fire and that the blaze was brought "under control quickly."
 
The occupants were not displaced.
 
"Upon arrival Car-2 founds the fire showing on an interior door. An occupant was attempting to extinguish the fire," Garner wrote in a report. 
 
Three engines, a ladder truck, and a square care responded to the scene. One occupant suffered some smoke inhalation but refused treatment. The fire was caused by cooking.
 
The damage was "confined to kitchen cabinets, stove, counter tops, a door and heavy smoke damage throughout the kitchen." There was also other smoke damage on the first floor.
     

Pittsfield Firefighters Snuff Out Attic Fire On Dawes Ave.

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters snuffed out an attic fire on Dawes Avenue Tuesday night.
 
According to Deputy Fire Chief Andrew Stephenson, firefighters were called to 53 Dawes Avenue at about 10:30. Upon arrival a small fire was located in the attic and a man was injured.
 
"One occupant burned his hands trying to control the fire. He sought medical attention," Stephenson wrote in a report on the incident. 
 
The fire was apparently caused by "improper disposal of a cigarette" and one room, which was used for storage, was damaged. However, the home is likely habitable, Stephenson said, depending on inspections on Wednesday. 
 
"The fire was brought under control and extinguished shortly after arrival by fire crews," Stephenson wrote.
 
The man who was injured sought medical attention from County Ambulance on scene but ultimately provided his own transportation to the hospital. The house is occupied by three people, all of whom found alternative housing Tuesday night. No firefighters were injured in response. 
     

Pittsfield Firefighters Quickly Knock Down Fires in Two Apartments

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — City firefighters were busy Wednesday morning with two fires.

Crews were called to Worthington Street for a structure fire. While there, another call came in about a fire on Fenn Street.

Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Noyes said the call came in shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday about a fire at three-family building on Worthingston Street. Upon arrival, smoke could be seen coming out of a second floor window, and crews found a small fire in a bedroom of the second-floor apartment.

Noyes said they were able to get the fire under control within about 10 minutes.

"We're just waiting for the investigators," he said.

The Red Cross has been called to assist the four people who live in the second floor, which is currently unusable, as well as the eight people in the first-floor apartment, which sustained water damage, Noyes said. The third floor was not affected.

While crews were assessing the Worthington situation, a call came in about a fire on Fenn Street.

Chief Robert Czerwinski, on the scene of that fire, said firefighters responded to 458 Fenn St. for a fire on the stove of the second floor apartment in the multi-family home. By the time they arrived, the occupant had extinguished the fire.

"Everybody's out, everybody's safe," Czerwinski said, adding that the damage was "mostly cosmetic" and the occupants - a man and his daughter - would not be displaced for long, if at all.

Czerwinski and Noyes said the Fire Department was able to successfully manage the back-to-back calls.

"We had to split up some crews," Czerwinski said, adding that two engine companies had still been in service when the second call came.

Noyes said there was a minor delay for a company to get to Fenn Street because it was at Worthington but it didn't have any impact.

"Luckily we were able to knock both fires down quickly," he said.

     

Pittsfield Fire Damages Montgomery Avenue Duplex

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

Next door neighbor Tony Paredes snapped this photo of the flames bursting through the windows. 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Several pets were killed when a fire erupted on the first floor of a duplex on Montgomery Avenue shortly after noontime on Tuesday.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated but appears to be limited mostly to 7 Montgomery Ave. The 9 Montgomery Ave. side suffered "significant smoke damage." 

Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Noyes said the department responded to the report of a structure fire and firefighters arriving on scene could see smoke coming out the building.

A least three windows were blown out by the blaze. Next door neighbor Tony Paredes said the fire expanded quickly. He said he heard a scream and in moments flames burst through the smoke-filled structure's windows.

The fire was contained fairly swiftly with the flames extinguished well before 1 p.m. but there were worries it might have spread through the structure.

"We were a little concerned when we saw smoke coming out of a vent from the basement area," Noyes said.

"Shortly after we had a line to the main body, we sent a crew to the basement. ... That's always a challenge if you have a possible basement fire ... but it turned out to be a little fire."

Everyone was out of the building by the time firefighters arrived. There were a number of pets, however, that apparently succumbed to the fire, including cats, although a snake was saved.

The building and health inspectors are currently evaluating the structure.

"The left side of the duplex has got heavy fire damage in the front room and in the basement," Noyes said. "There is heavy smoke damage throughout the building and some water damage.

"The right side has significant smoke damage, not any water damage, no fire damage that I can see."

According to land records, the home is owned by Melissa Gallagher and Sara Hollander. 

 

     
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