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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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Collision With Utility Pole Closes Section of State Road

Staff Reports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A section of State Road was closed down on Friday afternoon after a sport-utility vehicle took out a utility pole. 
 
The single-vehicle crash occurred at about 2:30 p.m. near George Avenue, just west of Stop & Shop. The late-model charcoal Honda Pilot was headed east when the driver apparently veered across the westbound lane and struck the pole, breaking it and sending the transformer and connected wires into Route 2. 
 
The driver was the only occupant of the Honda and was attended to by North Adams Ambulance personnel. The Honda incurred major damage to the front end and pieces of it were strewn across the road. It was taken from the scene by Cariddi Auto. 
 
Both lanes were closed and traffic detoured over Protection and Ashton avenues, causing significant backups both ways. The roadway was not expected to open for some time as National Grid was being called in to replace the pole and wires. 
 
North Adams Police and Fire responded. Police said the accident is under investigation. 
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Superior Court Briefs: Nov. 20 - Nov. 30

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, November 20.
 
Gregory Frye, 45, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of assault and battery on a correctional officer.
 
He was placed on $25 bail. He is currently serving a prison sentence on other charges. The charge stems from an incident at the Berkshire County House of Correction on October 3, 2017.
 
Michael Litchfield, 44, of Hinsdale pleaded guilty to single counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to violate drug laws, and possession of heroin with intent to distribute.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent three and a half to six years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. Agostini recommended that it be served at the Berkshire County House of Correction.
 
Litchfield sold fentanyl-laced heroin to Shawn Filiault, 39, who died after ingesting the drug. Litchfield was in possession of heroin with intent to sell when he was arrested on July 8, 2016.
 
Laurino Maysonet, 34, was found not guilty on single counts of kidnapping, armed robbery while masked, larceny over $250, intimidation of a witness, and fraudulent use of a credit card. 
 
The incident allegedly occurred in Pittsfield on December 14, 2016 and involved a 52-year-old woman.
 
Damian Sinclair, 26, of Albany, N.Y. had three counts of assault and battery on a disabled person continued without a change of plea for one year.
 
Sinclair is accused of assaulting three students while working at Eagleton School between January 1, 2014 and May 31, 2015. Three counts of caretaker abuse on a disabled person were dismissed by the state.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, November 21.
 
Kevin Smith, 21, of Holyoke pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws to wit: possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, and conspiracy to violate drug laws to wit: possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
 
Smith was ordered to serve concurrent 18-month sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at 144 Brayton Hill Terrace in North Adams on December 6, 2016.
 
Single counts of illegal possession of a large capacity weapon, illegal possession of a large capacity feeding device, possession of a large capacity firearm, rifle, or shotgun during the commission of a felony, improper storage of a large capacity firearm, possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card were all dismissed by the state.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, November 27.
 
Kyle Forbes, 24, pleaded guilty to single counts of distribution of cocaine and possession of cocaine - his second offense. 
 
He was ordered to serve nine months of an 18-month sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the distribution of cocaine charge and placed on one-year probation. He was given concurrent time of the other charge.
 
The charges stem from the sale of cocaine to an undercover police officer in Pittsfield on January 31, 2017.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, November 29.
 
Brian Hohman, 53, of Great Barrington had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on a single count of indecent assault and battery on a person who has attained age 14.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. Hohman is accused of assaulting an 18-year-old man in Pittsfield on October 1, 2017.
 
Mark Welch, 51, of Pittsfield had not guilty plea entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws, and possession of cocaine.
 
He was released on $1,000 bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Lee on October 10, 2017.
 
Amber Maisano-Krok, 39, of Lenoxdale had a single count of intimidation of a witness continued without a change of plea for one year.
 
Maisano-Krok is accused of intimidating a victim in a criminal investigation in Becket between August 6, 2016 and August 7, 2017.
 
Sam Wassilie, 39, of Hudson, N.Y. was sentenced to concurrent four to five years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on five counts of videotaping sexual parts of children under the age of 18 and concurrent time at the Berkshire County House of Correction on 10 counts of videotaping persons nude or partially nude.
 
Wassilie was found guilty on the charges on November 9, 2017. Wassilie had set up a video recording device in a public restroom at Pinegrove Park in Dalton between September 14, 2014 and October 26, 2014.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, November 30.
 
Christopher Vandesteene, 36, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime with intent to commit a felony and three counts of larceny from a building.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $25,000 bail. 
 
Vandesteene is accused of breaking into American Detailing in Pittsfield on January 30, 2017; the Becket General Store in Becket on September 3, 2017; and Angelina's Sub Shop in Pittsfield on September 15, 2017. He is accused of stealing ATM machines from those locations.
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Missing Pittsfield Plane Crashed in Vermont


Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The pilot of a small plane that left Pittsfield Municipal Airport on Wednesday died when the plane crashed on it's way to Middlebury, Vt.

The pilot was identified late Thursday afternoon as Norman Baker, 89, of Windsor. State Police said Baker was an experienced pilot who had been flying since he was 13.

Police say they located the crash site on the east side of Route 7 in the town of Pittsford. The plane sustained heavy damage and the pilot was deceased at the scene.

The plane, a white Cessna with maroon trim, was reported missing late Wednesday when the pilot failed to arrive on schedule.

The Federal Aviation Administration put out an alert for the plane. According to scanner reports, North Adams Police checked Harriman & West Airport to see if the plane had landed there.

Vermont State Police had checked reports of a crash around 5 p.m. on Wednesday in Pittsford.

The initial caller indicated a small aircraft was low flying over the area, and as it continued out of sight, the caller indicated they heard a loud noise.

State police, with the Vermont Civil Air Patrol and the Rutland Regional Airport, determined that there had been no evidence of crash at the time.
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