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Bedroom Blaze Snuffed Out

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters swiftly knocked down a second-floor fire at a home on Goodrich Street shortly before noon on Wednesday. The cause of the blaze had not been determined by early this afternoon.

"We thought it might have gotten into to the attic space but we were able to contain it pretty quickly," said Fire Director Stephen Meranti, who credited firefighters' swift response with preventing its spread. "The guys did a great job."

Smoke was seen coming out of a second-story bedroom on the south side of the building by Postal carrier David Ghidotti, who was delivering mail along his route, said Meranti. He said Ghidotti's immediate reporting of the smoke likely helped prevent the fire from spreading.

The fire director said smoke could be seen coming from the windows on arrival; all off-duty firefighters were called in, Adams responded with the Scot AirPak truck and Clarksburg went on standby.

The fire damage was contained to the bedroom and closet area, although the second story suffered smoke damage and the first floor water damage. Firefighters mitigated some of the first floor damage by pulling tarps over the furniture.

The large white house had been split into apartments at one point but is now being occupied as a single-family home. It is owned by Kenneth and Kristi Cooper.

Meranti said the Coopers would not be able to stay in the house Wednesday because power and utilities had been shut off. The health inspector was to inspect the building to see if it could be occupied.

Firefighters were still on the scene several hours after the blaze was snuffed, waiting for a fire marshal to arrive. Meranti said he had requested the marshal to help determine the cause.

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Hinsdale Snuffs Out Mobile Home Blaze

Staff Reports

A heater located underneath a mobile home is suspected as the cause of a fire on Monday night.

The Hinsdale Volunteer Fire Department responded in last night's bitter cold temperatures to a reported house fire at 8:19 p.m. Arriving firefighters were confronted with a fire in the crawl space underneath a mobile home at 9 Alice Drive occupied by the Reed family.

Significant fire damage was contained to the area under the home and there was light smoke damage to the interior of the building. The fire was under control within 15 minutes.

Fire Chief Larry Turner said the probable cause was the use of a propane heater underneath the dwelling.

A female resident of the home who re-entered the building to retrieve family pets before firefighters arrived was evaluated and treated at the scene for the affects of smoke by Hinsdale Ambulance staff.

Firefighters from the Peru and Becket volunteer fire departments assisted Hinsdale at the scene while Dalton firefighters provided standby coverage at the Hinsdale Fire Station.

Information provided by the Hinsdale Volunteer Fire Department.

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Drug Ring King Sentenced to Cedar Junction

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Ronnell Garmie, who killed a North Adams man in 2008, has been sentenced to prison on drug charges.

Garmie, of Bronx, N.Y., pleaded guilty on Thursday afternoon in Berkshire Superior Court in Pittsfield to single counts of cocaine trafficking and consipiracy to violate drug laws (distribution of cocaine). Judge Daniel Ford sentenced the 21-year-old Garmie to five to 5 1/2 years at Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the trafficking charge and a concurrent prison sentence on the conspiracy charge.

The charges stem from the night of Aug. 20, 2008, when authorities believe Walter tried to steal cocaine from a residence at Wheel Estates Mobile Home Park at which Garmie was staying. Garmie stabbed Walter during a scuffle at a residence; Walter, 24, was found by police on a neighboring lawn suffering from multiple stab wounds. He was transported to North Adams Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

A grand jury declined to indict Garmie on charges related to the slaying. However, the investigation into the death resulted in the breakup of a drug ring operating out of the city.

Garmie was indicted on multiple drug charges and held on $100,000 bail; eight others were arraigned on a variety charges.

Garmie was found to have possessed more than 28 grams of cocaine on the night of Aug. 20, 2008. He also conspired with other others to sell cocaine in North Adams between Aug. 1, 2008, and Aug. 20, 2008. 

One suspect, Shelly L. Nichlen, then 30, pleaded guilty last March to single counts of furnishing misleading information to a police officer related to aiding Garmie to flee the scene. At the same court appearance, she pleaded guilty to single counts of armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, larceny of more than $250 and misleading a police officer in connection with a robbery at Cumberland Farms on Dec. 2, 2007. Nichlen also pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws and violating a drug-free school zone from motor vehicle stop in North Adams in April 2008. 

She was ordered to serve concurrent four- to five-year state prison sentences in Walpole.

Walter's mother, Constance Pratt, who drove him to the scene, was placed on probation.

The owner of the mobile home, Tina Senecal, 54, pleaded guilty on Feb. 3, 2011, in Berkshire Superior Court to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws (distribution of cocaine). She admitted to selling cocaine in North Adams between Aug. 1 and Aug. 20, 2008. 

Judge John Agostini gave her a suspended 18-month sentence in the Berkshire County House of Correction on the possession charge and two years' probation on both charges on the condition she remain drug and alcohol free and undergo testing during the probationary period. A count of furnishing misleading information to a police officer was dismissed at the request of the commonwealth.

Garmie was found to have possessed more than 28 grams of cocaine on the night of Aug. 20, 2008. He also conspired with other others to sell cocaine in North Adams between Aug. 1, 2008, and Aug. 20, 2008. 

The investigation was conducted by members of the North Adams Police Department and state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office.

Updated on Feb. 3, 2011, to insert Senecal's sentencing.

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Four Arrested in MCLA Armed Robbery

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Investigators have made several arrests in connection with a home invasion and armed robbery that took place on the campus of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in December.  

Joshua E. Jadusingh, 18, of West Main Street, pleaded not guilty Friday morning in Northern Berkshire District court to single counts of home invasion and armed robbery. Judge Laurie MacLeod ordered that he be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $25,000 cash or $250,000 surety bail.

Jadusingh will be back in court for appointment of counsel on Jan. 24.

Police also arrested and charged a 15-year-old, whose identity was not released because of the individual's juvenile status, in connection with the incident.

The charges stem from a reported armed robbery at the one of the college's townhouse dormitories on the evening of Dec. 14, 2010. Campus, state and North Adams police were called to the scene but law enforcement authorities refused to provide further information on the incident although there was speculation drugs were involved.

Both arrests stem from search warrants executed at 3 Secor Ave. and 105 West Main St. late Thursday morning by state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office, MCLA campus police, North Adams Police and members of the state police Violent Fugitive Apprehension section, Crime Scene Services and the Berkshire County Drug Task Force.

As a result of the execution of the search warrants items were seized from both locations.  

Police say two other juveniles ages 15 and 16 were arrested in late December in connection with the robbery. The investigation is continuing and other arrests are possible. 

Investigators are asking anyone who may have information about the robbery to call them at the MCLA Office of Public Safety at 413-662-5284.

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Donations Reach State Road Fire Victims

Andy McKeever

Ryan Tondreau lost everything but the clothing he was wearing in his State Road apartment when it was gutted by fire.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — After a devastating fire gutted a State Road home last month, support for the victims have come from many angles.

Donations were accepted and a fundraising dinner was held at the Polish National Alliance in Adams, both the community giving group at

 

 Sweetwood/Sweet Brook and the Red Cross donated money, a Facebook fundraiser has raised more than $2,000 from more than 60 online supporters and Compassionate Care on Massachusetts Avenue collected boxes and boxes of items. Those donations are now being put in the hands of the people who need them.

"It's really nice to see that people care," said Ryan Tondreau, who lived in the second-floor apartment. "We lost pretty much everything but what we were wearing that day."

Tondreau, who lived in the building with Carrie Goldstein, sorted through the boxes of items at Compassionate Care on Friday to stock his new apartment. Tondreau and Goldstein are currently looking for new home while they stay with Tondreau's family in Williamstown.

"We're just taking it day by day. We've been staying with my parents since it happened. We're looking at a few options but as of yet, nothing," Tondreau said as he scanned a pair of donated pants looking for a size. "There is a lot of stuff here that we won't have to re-buy. Whatever we need we'll store until we get a new place."

Tondreau and Goldstein did not have renters insurance but their downstairs neighbors, Dana and Josh Mendel, did. The Mendels told Compassionate Care to allow Tondreau to take what items he needed from the donations first. Donations were being dropped off to the Compassionate Care nearly every day since the fire and were overflowing into the hallway.

The gifts ranged from gift cards to clothing to kitchen supplies. Much of the clothing will not fit and Tondreau said that he would re-donate anything the couple could not use.

"Obviously, we won't be able to take all of the stuff but it's still really nice to see," Tondreau said.

A cause of the fire at the corner of State Roadand Protection Avenue has not been determined.

Editor's Note: State Road!! Argh, reporters!

 

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