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Pittsfield Teen Rescued From Old Water Tank at Springside

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

The Western Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team consists of members from various departments throughout the region performing the rescues all over.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A teenager fell into an old water tank at Springside Park and had to be extricated by first responders.
 
Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Noyes said the teenager was with some friends in the area when he fell into a previously collapsed section of the tank. He plummeted some 25 feet and could not get out. After about an hour, he was extricated and transported to Berkshire Medical Center. Noyes said the boy's injuries are unknown right now but they appeared to be minor.
 
"It was really well done. All of our people did a great job," Noyes said of the rescue.
 
The tank has been fenced off by the city but teenagers are still known to go there. It was previously a reservoir that hasn't been used in years. The tank was empty when the 16-year-old fell inside.
 
Noyes said paramedic Carly Falone of Action Ambulance sat at the hole and talked with the teen to keep him calm as firefighters began setting up rescue operations. Noyes said the teenager reported he had trouble breathing and a broken wrist but he didn't know if there were any injuries beyond that.
 
The Western Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team was called in, which includes several members of Pittsfield Fire two of whom were responding to the incident. Firefighters were able to start the rescue operation as they waited for the team's arrival.
 
"We are up to seven or eight active members," Noyes said of the city's membership on the technical rescue team. "Today shows why you have to have members tech trained."
 
The technical team consists of first-responders from all over Berkshire County who respond when needed. They brought a trailer full of equipment and set up a tripod system with ropes in order to lift the teenager out. Noyes said two members of the team, including a city firefighter, were lowered into the tank and were able to prepare the boy medically to be lifted out. The whole rescue took about an hour.
 
"It was efficiently done but it feels like a long time," Noyes said. "There are so many safeties and checks."
 
In a situation like that, Noyes said the first-responders need to be safe because a second person getting hurt in a situation like that makes matters exponentially harder. The additional length of time taken to ensure those safety measures are in place feels even longer for an injured patient, but in this case, the teenager was able to remain relatively calm throughout as he continued to engage with paramedics and firefighters in conversation.
 
Those responding to the incident were Engine 2, Engine 3, Tower 1, Engine 6, Rescue 1, Truck 10, and a six-wheeler, which is a piece of specialty equipment the department has on hand for such needs. Pittsfield Police officers had dispersed people in the area and secured the scene for firefighters and the Western Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team performed the rescue. Action Ambulance transported the patient.
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Pittsfield Man in Critical Condition Following Roll Over Crash

Staff Reports

Firefighters free the occupants from the vehicle.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A city man is in critical condition following a rollover accident on Columbus Avenue Saturday.
 
According to police, Chester Soutier was transported to Berkshire Medical Center following the crash and is in "critical but stable" condition.
 
Soutier was driving a 2009 Lincoln MKZ eastbound on Columbus Avenue and collided at the intersection of Center Street with a 2012 Hyundai Elantra being driven by Jaime Adorno, 35, also of Pittsfield.
 
Soutier's Lincoln then spun and rolled when it hit the curb. Lincoln and one other passenger were trapped in the vehicle and freed by Pittsfield Fire Department. The passenger, whom authorities did not name, as well as a passenger from in Hyundai was also transported to the hospital for minor injuries.
 
Columbus Avenue was closed to traffic from North Street to Center Street for about two and a half hours and then reopened.
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Police Investigating Robbery Of Pittsfield Package Store

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police are investigating a robbery of Harte's Package Store Wednesday night.
 
Police say at 9:09 p.m. Wednesday night officers were called to the Dalton Avenue store for a reported robbery. The suspect was described as a short, white man with a beard and missing front teeth. He was described as wearing a light colored hooded shirt.
 
The suspected reportedly displayed a knige and then fled the store with cash and merchandise. No one was injured. 
 
Police say video evidence was recovered but footage or photographs of the suspect are not being released at this time.
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Richmond Man Killed Motor Vehicle Collision on Route 41

RICHMOND, Mass. —  An 84-year-old Richmond man was killed Wednesday afternoon in a motor vehicle accident on Route 41 near Dublin Road.
 
State police say Roland Small was a passenger in a 2007 Subaru Forester when it collided with a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado driven by a 19-year-old Chatham, N.Y., woman at about 4:20 p.m.
 
Small and the driver of the Subaru, a 78-year-old Richmond woman, were taken Berkshire Medical Center. Small had serious injuries, according to state police, and died at the hospital. The driver of the pickup was not injured and the driver of the Subaru is expected to survive. 
 
The road was closed at that location for approximately four hours.
 
This crash remains under investigation with assistance from the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, Crime Scene Services Section, and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. No charges have been filed at this time. 
 
State police from the Lee barracks were assisted on scene by Action EMS and troopers from the Cheshire barracks.
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Woman Injured In Crash at Problematic Pittsfield Intersection

Staff Reports

A solar-powered warning sign was installed within the last two years to reduce the number of drivers missing the stop sign. The tree on the right was the target of previous inquiries about it obscuring the sign at the intersection.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A 71-year-old woman was taken to Berkshire Medical Center for minor injuries Wednesday after a collision on East Housatonic Street.
 
According to Officer David Hallas, the woman was westbound on East Housatonic Street in an Oldsmobile Bravada when a Subaru Legacy, driven by a 35-year-old Great Barrington man ran the stop sign at Pomeroy Avenue and collided with the Oldsmobile.
 
"The driver of the Oldsmobile was transported to the hospital with minor injuries and the other driver was not injured," Hallas said.
 
The Oldsmobile veered and nearly struck a housing complex at that intersection, falling just a bit short. The building was not touched. The collision stymied traffic on the fairly well-traveled road for a short period of time before both vehicles were towed from the scene.
 
The accident is just one of many at that intersection over the years. Multiple petitions had been filed, and passed, by the City Council to make improvements to the intersection. For years, it was estimated that there was about one accident a month there. In 2004, the City Council approved a three-way stop sign to halt traffic on East Housatonic. In 2011, again the council approved a three-way intersection but neither petition had led to any changes.
 
In 2017, Ward 5 Councilor Donna Todd Rivers refiled the petition asking for something to be done. Particularly, she said "nine times out of 10" the accidents are caused by drivers on Pomeroy not stopping at the stop sign. 
 
Commissioner of Public Services David Turocy said at the time that a three-way stop sign wouldn't be a solution because of traffic volume -- people would learn to just blow through the stop sign on East Housatonic Street.
 
The Traffic Commission took up the issue and pushed for increased visibility of the stop signs, with Ward 4 Councilor Christopher Connell saying at the time that the trees and buildings essentially create a "tunnel" that makes it hard for drivers to see.
 
The commissioner agreed to trim the nearby tree to increase light and entertained the notion of taking it out completely, though removal requires much more red tape because shade trees are protected by state law.  The commission also considered calling for an overhead light to be installed there -- with a flashing red for vehicles northbound on Pomeroy and yellow for east and westbound traffic on East Housatonic but the cost led the idea to be shelved.
 
Turocy agreed to trim the trees and to put in a solar-powered light to warn drivers of the impending stop sign on Pomeroy. That light had been installed but still, the intersection clearly remains problematic.
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