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Pittsfield Couple Sues Hotel After Son Chokes On Condom

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The court will hear the case of a Pittsfield couple who is suing Hilton Hotels after her 2-year-old son choked on a used condom left by a prior guest, the Philadelphia Daily News reported on Friday.

A U.S. district justice cited "unique circumstances" that will have a jury determine if Amy Wolfe suffered emotional distress following the incident. Wolfe claims that she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and sees a psychiatrist, the paper reported.

According to reports at the time, Wolfe and her husband Steven were staying at Homewood Suites, owned by Hilton Hotels, in New Jersey last Jan. 2 when the 2-year-old found and began chewing on a used condom. He then began choking on it and ingested "the contents."

Wolfe was tending to another child in the bathroom when she heard the youngest of three, Ryan, choking. She ran in and removed it from his throat.

The child did not contract a sexually transmitted disease or any other illness but Wolfe claims developmental delays are a result of the trauma.

Attorneys for the hotel claim that she can not claim that because the child did not suffer serious physical injury or death, a claim that has succeeded in dismissing similar cases.

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Icy Conditions Cause Multiple Crashes in Lenox

Nichole Dupont

LENOX, Mass. — Four motor vehicle accidents involving at least 10 cars stopped traffic on routes 7 and 20 in both the north and southbound lanes early this morning.

According to a press release issued by Police Chief Stephen O’Brien, officers from the Lenox Police Department were responding to a two-car, head-on crash that occurred around 7 a.m. when other vehicles were forced off the road because of extremely icy conditions. In addition to Lenox Police, Lenox Fire Department and state police as well as County Ambulance were called to the scene to assist.

One eyewitness, Brian Sisco of Sheffield, said he was driving through Lenox at 8 a.m. on his way to work when he met up with black ice and bumper-to-bumper traffic in the north and southbound lanes.

"I was coming up through Lee on Route 20 and Lee was fine," he said. "But once Route 7 came up on the bypass that's when things got ugly. There was a road block both ways at Walker Street and they were sending people right or left. The road was definitely slick with black ice. At one point at a stop light my tires were spinning. The roads weren't sanded or salted or anything."

The first accident included what appeared to be a small light-colored pickup or sport utility vehicle with heavy front-end damage. The second vehicle was over the banking of the northbound lane. Emergency vehicles were parked along the side of the road for nearly 100 yards.

A light snow was falling over Pittsfield and South County in the early morning hours. Roadways were slushy through much of the region.

According to Sisco, traffic was backed up for at least a mile and half as police and rescue workers tried to handle one crash after another, saying there were at least three flatbeds and two tow trucks trying to clear away disabled vehicles. 

"I drove through Great Barrington at about 6:30 this morning and the roads were fine; sanded and salted. The same through Stockbridge and Lee," he said. "It did not look slippery at all. There was snow covering the roads but it just looked wet. You would think that because there are so many people who drive up Route 7 to get to work that that road would be salted as well. Pittsfield was fine, too. They had already sanded."

The road was finally opened again at 8 a.m. when it was deemed passable by police. At least eight people were transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield. Although none were reported to have life-threatening injuries, investigators are still compiling operator and vehicle information. Police said one accident involved eight vehicles.

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North Adams Fire Department Rescues Injured Hikers

Staff Reports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Emergency personnel rescued two hikers from Mount Greylock on New Year's Day after one of the pair was injured. 
 
“They went hiking and he just twisted his ankle,” Fire Director Stephen Meranti said on Monday. “We went up there on snowmobiles and gave them a ride back.”
 
The hikers called for help from a cell phone at about 4:30 p.m. and both Fire Department and ambulance employees used personal equipment to help the pair. Five firefighters and two emergency medical technicians from North Adams Ambulance took ATVs and snowmobiles up the mountain, Meranti said.
 
The hikers were near high-tension lines and used the tower number to identify their location but the Fire Department was still unsure of the best way to access them, Meranti said. Emergency personnel began a staging area on Curran Highway but after consulting with National Grid to pinpoint the tower, the group moved to Notch Road.
 
The hikers were off the mountain by 7 p.m. and the weather was warm enough that they were not in immediate danger. Only one department vehicle was used, an all-terrain vehicle and a rescue sled, and three additional ATVS and three snowmobiles were owned by emergency staff.
 
The hikers' names were not immediately available. 
 
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Winter Blanket Burns Pittsfield Apartment

Andy McKeever

 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — An old electrical blanket ignited early Tuesday morning and gutted an apartment at 100 Springside Ave. 
 
According to Deputy Fire Chief Keith Phillips, Linda Vandyke woke up when her blanket suddenly caught on fire. She took it outside but returned to find the underside of her bed still burning.
 
Firefighters were called at about 6:30 a.m., Phillips said.
 
Van Dyke escaped without injuries but one firefighter cut his hand, Phillips said.
 
The Fire Department closed off a section of Springside Ave. until about 10:30 a.m. Firefighters had trouble fighting the blaze because a nearby hydrant was buried in snow. Phillips said that residents can be a big help to the department by shoveling the hydrants out. 
 
Phillips said the blanket was 8-years-old and the wires were damaged because of usage and washing. 
 
The apartment is one of six in the building but none of the others were damaged, he said. The owner is already boarding the apartment up.
 
According to state land records, the building is owned by Matthew Pantofel.
 
Vandyke and her husband Edward Vandyke are reportedly staying with relatives and the tenants of the above apartment were removed because of a strong odor of smoke, Phillips said. Edward Vandyke was not home when it began.
 

 

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Fire Destroys Cranwell Carriage House

Nichole Dupont


 Updated on Jan. 4, 2011:  Update: Investigators are looking several space heaters set in the void between the first and second floors of the Carriage Barn as the possible source of the blaze that destroyed the historic structure days before Christmas.

"The fire investigation is continuing, but we are focusing on three space heaters as the most probable cause," said State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan in a press release.

The joint investigation with Lenox Fire Chief Daniel Clifford found the three oil-filled heaters were being used to keep pipes from freezing; at least two were connected to extension cords. According to the release, "Investigators believe either one of the space heaters or one of the extension cords connected to a heater, may have overheated and started the fire."

The entire press release can be found here in pdf format.


Update on Dec. 23, 2010, 4:25 p.m.: Follow-up calls for more information on the blaze haven't been returned by Cranwell Resort but a statement was sent stating the resort planned on rebuilding the structure. The statement follows:

A fire in the historic Carriage House at Cranwell Resort has completely destroyed the 18-guestroom building. There were no guests or employees in the building at the time. The fire broke out at approximately 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, December 22. Fire departments from 20 surrounding towns were called in help battle the blaze and they worked through the night trying to save the building. The circa 1890s building was connected to the Spa by a glass-enclosed walkway, but because it was completely isolated, no other building or operation was affected.

The Eagle posted this photo on YFrog.

The cause of the fire is under investigation according to Lew Kiesler, President and General Manager of Cranwell. He stated, "We are so grateful that no one was injured during this terrible event. We lost a gracious and historic building yesterday, but we are already making plans to rebuild."

The resort remains open for business in all areas with restaurants, the spa and facilities open to the public and house guests. Cranwell is currently in process of contacting hotel guests and making alternate arrangements for stays as necessary.

Original Post: 12-22-2010 04:37PM

LENOX, Mass. — A major structure fire destroyed the 120-year-old Carriage House on Wednesday afternoon at Cranwell Resort & Spa.

The smoke was discovered by a house inspector for the luxury resort at about 2 p.m., said General Manager Lewis M. Kiesler. "Fortunately, at this point, all the guest rooms in the Carriage House were vacant."

Kiesler was standing in the freezing temperatures calling guests to tell them their vacation plans were canceled as he watched a horde of firefighers from the surrounding towns battle the blaze. He said it was fortunate the Carriage House was at a distance from the other buildings on the sprawling estate.

The flames and smoke could be seen from the other side of Route 7 and billowed over the resort complex. The reporter at the scene said the wood-frame building looked like a tinderbox more than 45 minutes after the fire was reported.

The historic Carriage House was featured on the Cranwell website.

Lenox firefighters called in mutual aid from neighboring towns, including Lee, Great Barrington, Stockbridge, Hinsdale, Richmond and Monterey. A second call for help brought in five more departments, including Adams and Clarksburg from North County, and set the high school as a staging area for more tankers.

The Carriage House was built the same year as the mansion, which now hosts dinner parties and banquets. It was linked to the spa with a glass-enclosed walkway and boasted 18 luxury rooms on two floors. The resort also has rooms in the mansion, a set of townhouses, three cottages and the Olmsted Mansion.

Kiesler said the resort was fully booked through New Year's Eve.

Great Barrington Deputy Fire Chief Edward G. McCormick, acting as public relations officer, gave an update shortly before 5 p.m.  He said the fire apparently began in the building's attic but fire officials would not speculate as to how it might have started.

It was reported to Lenox dispatch at about 2:30; the building was fully involved when firefighters arrived at the scene.

McCormick said 20 Berkshire County fire departments and one Connecticut department sent equipment and manpower to help fight the blaze.

The building's historic architecture made it difficult contain the fire; the partial collapse of one side of the building forced firefighters out of the interior.

No has been injured but the weather conditions were raising concerns over firefighters' safety, said McCormick, because of the amount of water icing up around the scene. 

"I think we'll be here until tomorrow morning," he said, as smoked continued to billow behind him.

Cranwell Resort posted this statement on its website shortly before 6:30 pm.

Today, Cranwell suffered an unfortunate fire to the historic Carriage House. Thankfully, no one was injured but the building is a complete loss. The building is isolated so it has not affected any other property at Cranwell. Please rest assured that the entire resort is open for business and you can continue your plans to visit. For further information about your room reservation, spa appointment or dinner reservation, please call 800-272-6935.

Staff writer Andy McKeever contributed to this report.

Firefighters can be seen battling the blaze from above; right, the 18-room building collapses.

 

 


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