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Four Injured, Pets Lost in Pittsfield Duplex Fire

Staff Reports
iBerkshires Staff

The home on Lincoln Street burned in the early hours.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — An early morning fire on Lincoln Street heavily damaged a duplex and injured four, including three firefighters.

One occupant of the home was taken by ambulance to Berkshire Medical Center for treatment of burns and smoke-related injuries. Two pets are also missing and another, a cat, died in the blaze.

Two firefighters suffered minor lacerations and another smoke inhalation; all three were treated at the scene.

The cause is under investigation by the Fire Investigation Unit, state fire marshal's office and the Police Detective Bureay.

City firefighters responded to the 2-alarm blaze with five engines and the ladder truck to the structure fire at about 4:13 a.m. According Deputy Chief Michael Polidoro, there was heavy fire extending to the second floor when fire units arrived on the scene.

It took 90 minutes to bring the fire under control. There is heavy fire damage in the front on both the first and second floors and smoke and heat damage to the rest of the building. The owner of the building lived on the first floor; a tenant on the second.

All of the occupants were displaced and the Red Cross was contacted to assist them.

Western Massachusetts Electric Co., Berkshire Gas and city inspectors assisted at the scene; Dalton Fire Department covered the city.


Pittsfield Domestic Disturbance Prompts Special Response Team

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

Police closed streets around a home where a domestic disturbance was reported.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A city man was taken into custody Saturday morning after the Berkshire County Special Response Team had to be called out.

Police received two calls shortly before 10 a.m., one from a postal carrier who heard noises and screaming from a home at the corner of Myrtle Street and Stoddard Avenue and another from a family member.

"We're still trying to sort out what exactly occurred inside, but essentially an emotionally disturbed person, a mental health patient, with some medical history who was having a bad way and managed to get his hands on a black powder rifle," Police Chief Michael Wynn said.

"We're pretty sure it wasn't loaded, from the family, but we didn't know for certain so that necessitates a protocol."

The SRT team consists of representatives from local police departments — including Lanesborough, Lenox, Great Barrington, Adams, and Dalton — and the Berkshire County Sheriff's office.

They closed the streets and were able to make contact with the man, enter the house and defuse the situation.

"He was taken into custody without incident and is on his way to the hospital," Wynn said.

Wynn declined to name the man because the suspect was being treated as a medical patient, but said charges will likely be brought related to the domestic disturbance following an investigation.

The streets were to be reopened once the police equipment was removed. Police began leaving the area about an hour after arriving. 

"Everything went as smoothly as could be expected given the circumstances," Wynn said. "When operations go this way, we're very happy. These are the way they're supposed to go."


Goshen Man's Death Related to Pittsfield Shooting

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Goshen man died as a result of a blood clot caused by a gunshot wound incurred in a Pittsfield parking lot. 

Dr. Henry Nields, the state's chief medical examiner, said 29-year-old Anthony Gamache died as a result of the blood clot that, in his opinion, was caused by a gunshot wound to the leg.  

Gamache was shot in the leg in the Big Y parking lot in Pittsfield on Tuesday, Nov. 18, allegedly over a drug deal gone bad.

He was taken to Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton to seek treatment of his injury and then transported to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, from which he was treated and released. Gamache returned to his home in Goshen.  

He began experiencing pain Wednesday evening, Nov. 19.  Emergency medical technicians responded to his home and transported Gamache to Cooley Dickinson Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.  

Peter J. Campbell, 18, of Pittsfield, is facing several assault charges in the shooting of Gamache and District Attorney David F. Capeless said additional charges will be forthcoming when the case is presented to a Berkshire County grand jury.  

Campbell had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf in Central Berkshire District Court, on single counts of armed assualt with intent to rob, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm without a firearm identification card and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building.  He is being held without the right to bail at the Berkshire County House of Correction.     
The investigation into the shooting is being conducted by members of the Pittsfield Police Department and state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office.


Pittsfield Police Seek Help in Finding Missing Man

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield Police are requesting aid in finding a missing local man, James R. Purcell.

The 30-year-old Purcell was last seen on or about Nov. 14.

He is described as a black male, with brown eyes, standing 5-foot-10 and weighing 165 pounds.

He may be operating his gray 2008 Toyota Rav 4 with Massachusetts registration 828-EN8.

Purcell attended Taconic High School and Berkshire Community College; his Facebook page lists his place of employment as Best Buy.

Anyone with information as to Purcell's whereabouts is asked to contact the Pittsfield Police Department's Detective Bureau at 413-448-9705.


Pittsfield Crash Backs Up Traffic On South Street

Staff Reports

A utility pole fell on a minivan Monday morning.

Updated from original story at 11:49 a.m.; complete rewrite throughout; update to relate the minivan was was the second vehicle.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The driver of a vehicle that caused a three-car pileup and sheared off a utility pole on South Street on Monday morning was allegedly high on heroin.

According to a Fire Department report, the driver told police, "he was under the influence of heroin, having 'shot up' while driving."

Police arrested the driver and took him away in handcuffs after the northbound vehicle apparently veered into the pole, which then fell on a minivan immediately behind it. A third car following was also involved.

Crofut Street to Gamell Street was closed while the pole was being replaced. Traffic was rerouted to Holmes Road for much of the morning.

According to a Fire Department report, two engines and a ladder truck were dispatched to 460 South St., near the Lipton Mart, at 8:55 a.m.

The driver of the second vehicle was removed by firefighters and taken to Berkshire Medical Center with minor injuries. The vehicle sustained significant damage. The report by Deputy Chief Steven Peaslee stated that a Western Massachusetts Electric Co. representative informed him that "a matter of inches kept the driver from being electrocuted." The main power lines carry 13,000 volts.

The third driver remained in that vehicle until rescued by firefighters.


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