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Train Sparks Brush Fire in Great Barrington

Staff Reports

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — One of our readers in Great Barrington reports that the Fire Department responded to a brush fire along the railroad tracks on Taconic Avenue on Monday afternoon.

The call came in around 3:30 p.m. that a train passing south along the Housatonic Railroad tracks sparked a fire in the dry vegetation that spread. The train reportedly continued to Canaan, Conn., where it was contacted. Luckily, it did not spark more blazes as it moved south. 

It took firefighters only about 10 minutes to bring the blaze under control and they returned to headquarters around 4:15. Egremont Fire Department was put on standby for Great Barrington.

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Morningside Initiative to Hold Neighborhood Watch Meeting

Staff reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. —  This Thursday, the Morningside Initiative's Crime Prevention and Public Safety subcommittee will hold a neighborhood watch meeting. People who live, work or own property in the Morningside Initiative area are invited to attend the meeting, which will be held at the Morningside Community School cafeteria, 100 Burbank St., from 6 to 8 p.m.

The Morningside Initiative area includes East Street from Park Square up North Street to Springside Avenue to Benedict Road, to Tyler Street ext. to Woodlawn Avenue, Kellogg Street to Fourth Street around Silver Lake Boulevard, back on East Street returning to Park Square. (If that sounds confusing, here's a map).

For more information, contact Ashley James at 413-448-9678.
 

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New Williamstown Home Destroyed by Fire

Staff Reports

A fire on Wednesday destroyed a large single-family home on Pine Cobble Road in Williamstown that was still under construction.

The Williamstown Fire Department was aided by firefighters from Clarksburg, Lanesborough and Pownal and Stamford, Vt., as well as local and Adams Forest Wardens.

The fire was reported about 4:30 and witnesses described seeing black smoke above the hillside development from points in North Adams.  No one was apparently in the house at the time.

The weather was hot and breezy and the fire soon spread to the brush. Firefighters spent several hours battling the blaze.

Video taken by someone at the scene was forwarded to iBerkshires. We appreciate any further information. Another video can be found on our Facebook page.

 

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North Adams to Get 2 Additional Police Officers

Staff Reports

North Adams will soon have two additional full-time police officers, to be sworn in on Tuesday, April 13, at the City Council meeting.

According to an announcement issued by the office of Mayor Richard Alcombright, the move is "yet another step towards assuring that this new administration will continue to support law enforcement efforts with the end result being a safer community."

Other recent efforts to reduce crime include the development of a Neighborhood Crime Watch Program, which currently is underway with watch groups forming citywide.

Despite a "tight budget," Alcombright credited Commissioner of Public Safety E. John Morocco for his "creative methods that will allow this community to afford the new officers." According to the mayor's office, the city will use a state 911 grant to pay dispatchers' salaries, freeing up money in the budget for police salaries.

Commissioner Morocco stated that “while more police does not necessarily translate into an immediate reduction in crime, feet on the street are a very important to be certain that all shifts are properly staffed and that police can respond quickly and efficiently when multiple calls are being handled.”

Looking ahead, Alcombright said he hopes to implement methods of community policing, such as putting put police on bicycles and in neighborhoods this summer.

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Driver Won't Be Charged in Pedestrian Death

Berkshire News Network

Great Barrington Police have decided not to file any charges against a Stockbridge woman who hit and killed a pedestrian crawling across Route 7 last month. 

Police Chief William Walsh told the Berkshire News Network that preliminary results of the autopsy on the victim, 59-year-old Raymond McQuoid of Lee, revealed that the driver, 33-year-old Julia Berkman of Stockbridge, was not at fault when she hit McQuoid. 

Police said they believed McQuoid had been drinking before the incident and was walking northbound in the southbound lane around 9 that night when he decided for some reason to crawl across busy Route 7. The incident occurred about 500 yards north of the WSBS studios near an auto dealership at the base of Monument Mountain. 

McQuoid, a native of Leicester, resided in Stamford, Vt., for several years and served on the Select Board. He had been a truck driver for LB Corp. He left a wife, the former Danna Nichols, her three children and four grandchildren.

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