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Crane Collision in Adams Sends One to Hospital

ADAMS, Mass. — A Thursday morning accident sent one person to the hospital and caused a spill of hydraulic fluid at Specialty Minerals Inc. 
 
The Adams Fire Department, Adams Ambulance, and Adams Police were detailed to Columbia Street at 6:38 a.m. Thursday for report of a vehicle versus crane accident with injuries. 
 
According to the report by the Fire Department, a box truck had struck the crane at the entrance to Specialty Minerals Inc. The operator of the box truck was injured and still in the vehicle. The crane operator did appear to be injured. 
 
The crane was hit near its hydraulic tank, causing a large spill. "Thanks to the expertise of employees of Specialty Minerals and Adams Excavating," they grabbed booms and spread an absorbant to contain the spill to the area immediately around the accident scene," the Fire Department post on Facebook states. "I believe preventing any potential for long-term environmental effects."
 
Fire and ambulance personnel removed the victim from the vehicle and he was transported to the hospital (unknown condition at this time). The remaining fire personnel assisted by the above named companies start the process to clean up.
 
"I would like to thank the employees of Specialty Minerals and Adams Excavating for their quick response and assistance. They were able to provide the Fire Department with materials to absorb up the spill," the Facebook post states. "They had the expertise and equipment to assist in cleaning up the site and preparing for the proper removal of all the dirty absorbent. The DEP and all necessary agencies were notified as required by law."
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Firefighters Battle Large Apartment Fire in North Adams

Staff Reports

 
Updated Jan. 11 at 10:10 a.m.: Tuesday’s fire at 246-248 Houghton St. has been determined accidental, according to State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Fire Chief Stephen A. Meranti.
 
The fire started in the front bedroom in a top floor apartment (the building is on an incline with apartments on the ground, first and second floor). The cause will remain officially undetermined, as investigators cannot eliminate smoking or a space heater as the specific cause. The space heater itself was too badly damaged in the fire to determine if it malfunctioned. The building is considered a total loss.
 
Working smoke alarms first alerted the resident to the fire. He attempted to fight the fire himself, which delayed notification to the Fire Department. He suffered minor injuries. No other residents of the six-unit building were injured.
 
The fire was jointly investigated by the North Adams Fire and Police departments and state police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Dozens of firefighters battled a persistent fire on Tuesday at an apartment building on Houghton Street. 

 
City firefighters were joined by members of the Clarksburg Volunteer and Williamstown fire departments in trying to bring the blaze under control while the Adams Fire Department covered the station with preparations to step in if needed. 
 
It took more than two hours to contain the fire enough for firefighters to attack it from the inside. 
 
"It got a good jump start on us," said Fire Chief Stephen Meranti, pointing to the left side of the building. "This whole side was fully involved and on the third floor, we had fire blowing out all those windows and it extended to the front. ...
 
"The guys did an excellent job."
 
The fire chief said the blaze appears to have originated in the second-floor apartment on the left side of the building and extended up into the small, shared attic space, where its spread rapidly. 
 
Firefighters were just entering the building at close to 3:30 p.m. to address the hotspots and begin the investigation.
 
The call came in at 12:45 p.m. and an all-call was sent out to bring in all shifts to reinforce the five firefighters on duty, then the mutual aid call went out. Houghton Street was blocked from Bracewell Avenue north. 
 
The building at 246-248 Houghton St. sits at the corner of Houghton and Brooklyn streets. It has been owned, through a trust, by the late Charles R. Ransford since 1999.
 
The structure was known as the Owen Morris House and, according to the city's historical survey, was constructed in 1884, although the city's assessor gives it a date of 1870. It was originally used as a residence and grocery store and built by Morris, who worked at Arnold Print Works. It had four units and a public library branch was located there for about 40 years until closing in 1976. 
 
There are six apartments in the structure now. Meranti said four of the units were occupied at the time of the fire but everyone made it out. According to scanner reports, a family of three and a mother and child were awaiting aid from the Red Cross. 
 
A woman said she'd rushed over when a neighbor had pointed to the smoke pouring out of the building. She was worried about her cousins and their dog, but said they'd been able to flee the building. 
 
Northern Berkshire EMS was on the scene with its rehab trailer. General Manager John Meaney Jr. said there no injuries but several people had been treated for smoke inhalation and referred to the emergency satellite facility. 
 
The hillside structure is three stories on the front and two in the back. Heavy smoke poured into the sky above the building and flames poked through the roof in numerous spots. One firefighter who attempted to gain the second-story deck in the rear was pushed back when flames erupted along the back edge of the building. 
 
The firefighters used a drone operated by department photographer Nicholas Mantello to get a bird's-eye view of the building. 
 
"We could see where the fire was going through the roof, where the heaviest fire was, and direct our lines," Meranti said.
 
The amount of water being poured on the structure was also affecting households in the area. The city through a Code Red alert advised neighboring areas to Houghton that their water may be brown or low pressure. 
 
He said the main problem was access -- the fire was too heavy for an interior attack or to ventilate the roof and there were power lines on three side of the building, limiting the ladder truck to the Brooklyn Street side. 
 
"The problem was there was so much fire on this side, with the limited manpower that we have, we had to focus completely on this side and we couldn't prevent it from extending to the other side [of the building]," he said. "We really we like to get inside and get the fire from the inside but this one was just too big for us to handle."
 
It was 3 p.m. before firefighters could get into the building after flooding the roof and directing water into the interior windows. 
 
"We're going to continue pulling ceilings and trying to access the building, we're going to try to get the hotspots and we'll break everything down and investigate it," Meranti said. 
 
He considered the building a total loss and said a fire watch would be at the property through the night. 
 
Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont posted in a comment on our Facebook page that tenants of the building can go to the North Adams store on State Street for an emergency voucher to help with clothing, coats, blankets and other essentials. Desperados on Eagle Street is offering a special on wings Tuesday night with all proceeds going to help the building's occupants.
 

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Teenager Shot In Pittsfield Sunday Night

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A teenager was hospitalized after being shot on Franco Terrace.
 
Police responded to the area at about 5:30 p.m. to find the 15-year-old man suffering from what appeared to be a non-life threatening gunshot wound. Emergency medical technicians transported him to Berkshire Medical Center where he is currently being treated.
 
Police are asking for anybody with information regarding the incident to contact the detective bureau at 413-448-9705, through the drug tips hotline at 413-448-9708, or by texting PITTIP and your message to TIP411 (847411).
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Two Arrested In Armed Robbery Of Pittsfield Shop

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Two city residents were arrested for allegedly robbing Angelina's Sub Shop on West Housatonic Street while armed Friday evening.
 
Police say Jameial Beckett, 35, and Ivelisse Ruusukallio, 37, both of Pittsfield are facing charges of armed robbery while masked relating to the robbery. Beckett is being held on $7,500 bail while Ruusukallio is being held on $2,500. Both will be arraigned in district court Monday morning.
 
Police say at about 9:38 p.m. Friday night officers responded to Angelina's after an employee told dispatch that a black man wearing a dark-colored sweatshirt and a mask had robbed the store with a gun. 
 
About a half hour earlier officers had responded to the Big Y Express on West Street on a report of suspicious activity. There an employee said an individual entered the store wearing a mask but quickly exited after "appearing to be spooked by arriving customers."
 
Officers were already in the area for the Big Y call and detectives saw two individuals walking on the street just north of Angelina's and encountered them. Detectives allegedly discovered evidence linking the individuals to the robbery. 
 
Police say the detective bureau is continuing its investigation into a string of armed robberies recently and if the public has information to contact the department at 448-9705.
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Berkshires Impacted By Sporadic 911 Outage

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The 911 system has been sporadically out of commission statewide on Friday and affecting most of Berkshire County.
 
The Massachusetts State Police released a statement shortly before 7 a.m. encouraging residents to call their local public safety departments directly instead of using the emergency reporting system. The issue was affecting both cellular and landline service.
 
"A nationwide outage affecting CenturyLink, an internet communications company, is impacting wireless 911 call capability in various parts of the country," reads the statement from state police.
 
Shortly after 1:30, MSP released an update saying the issue had not been resolved and encouraged residents to contact the local agency needed.
 
"You may hear a fast busy signal, hear a recording saying 'all circuits are busy' or something similar, or you may get connected to a different emergency call center than you were expecting," state police said.
 
"While you should always try to dial 9-1-1 in an emergency, if the call will not go through because of this outage, you should make a second call to the 10-digit emergency number of your local police/fire department. These numbers are available on the Internet and available through Directory Assistance. Remember, it is important that you give your exact location to the dispatcher as it may not automatically display for the dispatcher."
 
CenturyLink released a statement saying full restoration has not been resolved and multiple dispatch municipalities reported sporadic outages. 
 
The Berkshire County Sheriff's Office, which serves the dispatch center for 26 towns, told residents to call 911 but "if you are still having issues calling 911 please call your local police department."
 
Cell phones buzzed throughout the county about noon with notifications about the problem from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and a second alert was sent at 1:36 p.m.
 
Pittsfield shortly afterward released a statement saying the outage has no impact on its system and residents there should continue calling 911.
 
North Adams, the next largest community that also runs its own dispatch center, has been affected.
 
"In any case where there is a need for 911 services and your call does not work or go through, please hang up and dial (413) 663-3313 which will be routed directly into our 911 Call Center," North Adams Police wrote on its Facebook page.
 
CenturyLink released a statement saying it will continue to provide updates throughout the day as it works to resolve the problems.
 
State police said if one cannot find the local number to call 508-872-2508 and tell the dispatcher the exact location of the emergency, including city or town, and they will connect to the correct department.
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