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Pittsfield Police Officer Fired for Misconduct

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Pittsfield police officer has been fired for "multiple misconduct charges."

Officer Dale Eason, a 20-year veteran of the force, had been on leave since May after a scuffle with an elderly woman in her home last year.

A terse press release from Chief Michael Wynn said Eason had been terminated on Wednesday after a "lengthy internal investigation and a local civil service hearing."

Eason had arrested Phyllis Stankiewicz, 88, after he and another officer entered her home after being sent to the wrong address for a disturbance. A confused Stankiewicz had allegedly threatened them with a small paring knife and, when disarmed, had slapped Eason on the wrist. Eason then put her on the ground and arrested her. All charges against Stankiewicz were dropped.

"The City of Pittsfield and the Pittsfield Police Department take any and all acts of police misconduct by our personnel extremely seriously. Service as a police officer requires a high degree of public trust. On those rare occasions, as is the case here, that trust is violated, severe sanctions must be imposed," said Wynn in the statement.

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Body Discovered In Windsor Lake in North Adams

Staff Reports


The body was discovered in the lake Friday morning.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The body of a 63-year-old North Adams man was found in Windsor Lake.
Police say the body of Leszek Godyn of Arnold Place was discovered at 8 a.m. Friday morning.
The incident remains under investigation but the district attorney's office says it "does not appear to be suspicious at this time."
Police Director Michael Cozzaglio confirmed that police received a report at 7:48 a.m. from someone who said they saw a body lying in the water.
Police, EMS, and fire responded to the lake, where Godyn's body was found in the shallow water at the fishing area near the concession stand. Firefighters were able to remove him from the water.
"We're trying to determine what brought this person up to the lake and what happened," Cozzaglio said, adding again that it did not appear suspicious. 
The investigation is being conducted by members of the North Adams Police Department, state police, and the district attorney's office. 
The entrance of the lake was blocked Friday morning for more than an hour during the recovery.
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Superior Court Briefs: Aug. 29 - Aug. 31

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, August 29.
Rhianna Randall, 40, of Dalton pleaded guilty to three counts of assault and battery and a single count of disturbing the peace.
She was placed on two-years probation on the assault and battery charges. The other charge was placed on file.
Randall assaulted three youths - ages 17, 15, and 15, - on October 24, 2015.
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, August 30.
Patrick Coyne, 34, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of armed career felon, illegal possession of a firearm - his second offense, possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card, and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building.
He was ordered to serve six to 10 years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the armed career felon charge. He was given concurrent five to six years at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the other charges.
Coyne was arrested in Pittsfield after multiple reports of shots fired in the area of Wahconah Street and Pecks Road on May 19, 2016.
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, August 31.
Joevany Santiago, 25, of Springfield pleaded guilty to a single count of manufacturing cocaine. 
He was ordered to serve 15 months at the Hampden County House of Correction. The charge stems form the execution of a search warrant at 86 West Main Street in North Adams on April 15, 2016.
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North Adams Apartment Blaze Doused; West Main Closed

By Jack Guerino
iBerkshires Staff

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters quickly knocked down fire in a storage area at a West Main Street apartment building on Thursday.

Fire Director Stephen Meranti said only one tenant was in the building and he was quickly evacuated.

Meranti said the Fire Department arrived at 75 West Main St around 2:30 p.m. after receiving a report of smoke coming out of a second-story window. It was initially described as a structure fire.

"The guys got on scene, and they saw smoke," he said. "We had smoke coming from the bedroom window on the second floor. ...

"The guys went in, found the tenant and escorted him out," he said. "He was OK. He was just trying to put the fire out with a portable extinguisher."

Meranti said a pre-connected hose was weaved through a room, a bedroom and into the storage room on the eastern side of the flat-iron building where the fire broke out. Firefighters tossed items out of the window to get to the fire.

"It was contained in that one room, and the stuff was not really that burned," he said. "We just had to get down to where it was burning."

Meranti said power had to be shut off to the apartment and to the one below it because water had to be used to extinguish the fire. He said an electrician will have to come in and inspect the apartments before the tenants can occupy them.

Meranti said all in all the fire was contained and knocked down quickly.

The guys did a good job," he said. "Early detection, quick response and aggressive interior attack. That is how you keep a small fire small."

He said the cause of the fire is still under investigation. The road was closed from the east end of the Memorial Bridge to Brown Street for more than an hour.

North Adams Police and Ambulance were on scene as well as the Wire and Alarm Division and Berkshire Gas. The building is owned by Charles Swabey.

Meranti added that at the same time, there was a one-car accident on Pattison Road that resulted in no injuries. All off-duty firefighters were called in to assist.

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Investigators Asking For Help In Determining Cause of J.B. Paper Fire

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Investigators are asking for the public's help in determining how the J.B. Paper factory fire started Monday night.
State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey,Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski and Police Chief Michael Wynn are asking anyone with information about it to contact the detective bureau at 413-448-9705 or the arson hotline at 1-800-682-9229. 
"The investigative team is asking anyone with information about the fire to come forward confidentially. The cause of the fire remains undetermined and we are looking for information on how the fire started whether it was accidental or intentional," Ostroskey wrote. 
Investigators were on scene Wednesday trying to determine what happened. The electricity and gas had been shut off for years to the abandoned building, leading fire officials to say the fire was likely caused by somebody inside the building - either by accident or intentionally. The recorded owner of the building died in 2009.
"We can rule out electrical. The electrical that serves this building has been shut off for years. Nobody has any right to be here other than the property owner and they were nowhere near this place. It is either accidental by a squatter or trespasser making a fire inside, doing who knows what. Or it is a malicious intent to start a fire with an open flame. It is either accidental arson or arson," Deputy Chief Daniel Garner said on Tuesday morning.
Securing the site has posed a challenge over the years, Garner said, and on multiple occasions police and fire had been at the site looking to ensure it was closed off. But, squatters and trespassers were still known to find their way into the building.
The fire was the largest one the city has seen in decades. It required help from at least eight surrounding towns and firefighters worked all night to control it. It isn't clear exactly what time it began because it had been burning for some time before the call was made. When firefighters arrived, it was already showing heavy fire and firefighters immediately went on the defensive. Garner said the fire must have been burning for some time to pick up intensity before the department received the call at about 8 p.m. 
The arson hotline is part of the arson watch reward program that provides rewards of up to $5,000 for information that helps to solve fire cases. 
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