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Sandisfield Town Garage Burns to the Ground

SANDISFIELD, Mass. — WesternMassNews.com is reporting that the Sandisfield Town Garage burned to the ground Sunday morning. 
 
According to news reports, the five-alarm fire was reported shortly after 9 a.m. and was "fully engulfed" when firefighters from multiple companies arrived at the scene. 
 
Sandisfield's Fire Chief Ralph Morrison told Western Mass News that highway crews had been at the building locking up just minutes before  the fire is believed to have started. 
 
The first snow storm of the season had rolled through the Berkshires beginning Saturday morning, dumping up to 6 inches of snow across the region. 
 
Sandisfield's four highway trucks were in the building and are now considered a total loss.  Western Mass News is also reporting an Otis fire vehicle was involved in an accident on its way to the scene. 
 
 

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Superior Court Briefs: Dec. 4 - Dec. 6

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Monday, December 4.
 
Nicholas Beauchamp, 29, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime and two counts of larceny from a building.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $25,000 bail.
 
Beauchamp is accused of breaking into Becket General Store in Becket on September 3, 2017 and Angelina's Sub Shop in Pittsfield on September 15, 2017 and taking an ATM from both locations.
 
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday, December 5.
 
Jeremy Paul, 40, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to two counts of illegal ownership of a firearm, two counts of improper storage of a firearm, and a single count of possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card.
 
He was ordered to serve 18 months at the Berkshire County House of Correction.
 
The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his Linden Street home on April 28, 2017. A single count of armed career felon was dismissed by the state.
 
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Wednesday, December 6.
 
Brian Whittaker, 33, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws, and possession of cocaine.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent three to four years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the possession of heroin with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws charges. He was given a concurrent 10-day sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the possession of cocaine charge. He will begin his sentence on January 8, 2018.
 
The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on July 25, 2016.
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Adams Fire Snuff Out Columbia Street Fire

By Jack Guerino
iBerkshires Staff

Mutual aid companies also arrived at the scene.

ADAMS, Mass. — The Fire department quickly knocked down a small fire at 246 1/2 Columbia St. on Wednesday.

Fire Chief John Pansecchi said the call came in late morning and once firefighters arrived at the single-family home, they were able to contain the blaze to one room that was used for storage by the owner.

"Knockdown was fairly quick once we got there and after we just had to do some overhaul," Pansecchi said. "It was pretty much contained in one room and there was some smoke and water damage."

Pansecchi said although the cause of the fire is still under investigation, it does not appear to be suspicious.

There were no injuries and they were able to retrieve a pet cat.

"There was a cat missing and they do like to hide but once things calmed down we were able to retrieve it," he said.

Pansecchi said because the call came in during the day when manpower is often an issue for volunteer departments, North Adams, Clarksburg, Savoy and Cheshire were automatically toned.

"They all arrived but we did not need them," he said.

He said the other departments did offer support and covered the station while the Adams Fire Department put out the fire.

Adams Ambulance and Police Department were also on scene.

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Montgomery Fire Chief Dies Fighting House Fire

Chief Stephen P. Frye
MONTGOMERY, Mass. — Fire Chief Stephen P. Frye collapsed and died after fighting a fire at 1524 Southampton Road on Tuesday night. 
 
State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Montgomery Deputy Fire Chief Chris Galipeau announced his death at a press conference on Wednesday. 
 
Immediate aid was rendered to Frye by firefighters who were with him and Hilltown Ambulance personnel who were already on scene. He was taken to Bay State Noble Hospital in Westfield, where he was pronounced dead.
 
Frye was 59 years old. He has been a member of the Montgomery Fire Department since 1993 and chief for about 13 years. 
 
He is survived by his wife, an adult son and adult daughter, all of whom live in Montgomery. His son is also a member of the Montgomery Fire Department and had responded to the fire where his father collapsed. This is a volunteer fire department made up of members of the community serving their neighbors.
 
State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said, 
 
"This is a small tight-knit community and the Fire Department is like a second family to its members," Ostroskey said. "I offer heartfelt condolences to the Frye family and the Montgomery and area fire departments on this devastating loss."
 
Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) services are on scene working with the first responders.
 
The incident required mutual aid from the Easthampton, Huntington, Southampton, Southwick, Westfield, Westhampton, Russell, Barnes Air Force Base, Westover Air Reserve Base, and Holyoke fire departments, Hilltown Ambulance, state police and the Huntington Police Department.
 
The joint investigation into the origin and cause by the Montgomery Fire Department and state police assigned to the State Fire Marshal's Office and to the Hampden District Attorney has determined that the cause of the fire was an accidental chimney fire.
 
This is the second fire-related firefighter death this year. Watertown firefighter Joseph Toscano died fighting a house fire on March 17. Western Massachusetts has not lost a firefighter in a fire since July 24, 2010, when David Sullivan, 70, died after being at the scene of a fire in Otis, and April 8, 1999, in Russell.
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Driver Smashes Through PetCo Store in Pittsfield

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

The vehicle came to a halt about 100 feet into the store.

Updated at 6:20 p.m. with the name of the driver, make and model of vehicle, and specific time of the call.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — An elderly driver smashed through the glass-front windows at Pet Co. and traveled at least 100 feet into the building on Tuesday morning. 

Officials said Alice Canning, 83, of Lenox was taken to Berkshire Medical Center for minor injuries after her car accelerated through the parking lot, and into the store.
 
Public safety officials said no customers, employees, or animals were hurt.
 
"It appears there's no or minor injuries at this time, just the driver herself is being treated by medical staff," said Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski at the scene."No store employees or customers appear to be injured in the incident."
 
The chain pet supply store is located in the former Kmart building on Merrill Road, tucked between T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods. The accident occurred at 11:29  a.m., when the store was open for business. 
 
Czerwinski said the city's building and wire inspectors were en route to the scene to determine the condition of the building, citing significant damage to the front facade and some wiring. The store was evacuated.
 
"Obviously, we've got a late model Toyota that's deep into the building, almost 100 feet in there ... there's a glass front window that has been knocked out and there's some wiring on there that also needs to be looked at by the wire inspector," he said.
 
The small black car 2002 Toyota Camry appears to have entered just left of the main doors, near the small-animal pet section, and ended in the cat and dog food area. The animals -- fish, birds, reptiles and small animals -- are normally kept along left side of the building. The grooming section is on the right. 
 
The appears to have barely avoided the cases for the mice and hamsters. 
 
The driver was expected to be taken to Berkshire Medical Center for follow-up. She was the only occupant of the vehicle at the time.

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