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Pittsfield Firefighters Busy With Third Fire in 24 Hours
By Andy McKeever On: 09:57AM / Tuesday June 23, 2015

 
Firefighters tackled two fires on Tuesday: an apartment fire on Columbus Avenue (above) and a house fire at 20 Larch St.

Updated at 11:58 a.m. with third fire report.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — City firefighters are being kept on their toes this week. The department's dealt with three structures fires in 24 hours.

"We certainly have days we have structure fires, but to get three in a 24-hour period is kind of unusual for us," Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said right after his crews snuffed out an apartment fire on Tuesday morning. "The guys held up very well, they're not ready to call it quits yet."

The chief did not think there was a pattern to the fires.

"It all seems to be accidental," he said, with "nothing incendiary."

On Monday at about 11:30 a.m. firefighters snuffed out a structure fire at 15 Miller St., which is off Lakeway Drive.

On Tuesday, at about 8:30, firefighters put out a blaze on the other side of the city, at 20 Larch St.; two hours later, they were at 297 Columbus Ave. dealing with the grease fire

"It came in as a kitchen fire, heavy smoke on arrival," Czerwinski said. "We had a kitchen burning on the third floor, Apt. 9 in a 11-unit building." 

The fire was knocked down fairly quickly but the family - two adults and four children - were displaced. The Red Cross was expected at the scene shortly to help them. No one was injured and no other apartments were affected.

"We're pretty confident [it was a cooking fire]," he said. "The occupants told us what happened."

It was a little less clear how the fire at 20 Larch St. began.

"Fire crews arrived at 20 Larch St. a little before 9 o'clock this morning. They found heavy fire coming out of the back kitchen area. They made an aggressive attack to the indoors and knocked that fire down," Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said.

"There was some extension into the living area and some down into the basement."

By 9 a.m., crews had already put out the blaze, which Czerwinski said appears to have started in the kitchen. He said nobody was home at the time and the neighbors called in the blaze when they saw flames and smoke coming through the rear windows.

"This was cooking for a little while before it was discovered," Czerwinski said.

That structure fire nearly caused the closure of Merrill Road. Fire officials said they considered closing Merrill Road but ultimately determined they didn't need access to the fire hydrant.

"They called extra resources in," Czerwinski said, of what came close to being a two-alarm fire. "There are probably 14, 15 firefighters here."

There is smoke and heat damage throughout the home, he said, but the fire itself was mostly contained in the rear of the building. According to land records, the home is owned by Alliance Properties LLC. 

Later, Deputy Andrew Stephenson reported that two adults and three children were displaced. The Red Cross was being called to assist them with finding lodging. 


Czerwinski said fire inspectors will hopefully determine the cause by the end of the day.

On Monday, a woman was displaced from her Miller Street home after a first-floor couch caught on fire. Luckily, one of the city's deputy chiefs live across the street and when his wife noticed the smoke, she quickly called 911.

"She knew what to call in and what to say so they knew there was fire," Czerwinski said.

Again, in short order firefighters contained the blaze that had spread from the first floor up to the attic in the rear of the building.

"They think that was caused by careless smoking. The fire appeared to have originated from a couch on the first floor," Czerwinski said.

The homeowner, Margaret Anne Miller, was not home at the time and she is currently displaced from the home. Czerwinski said that fire is still under investigation.



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Two Pittsfield Men Face Drug, Gun Charges Following Raid
Staff Reports On: 11:40AM / Friday June 19, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police arrested two Pittsfield men Thursday morning after raiding their homes.

Reymon Delacruz-Batista, of Dalton Avenue, and Jose Liriano-Vasquez, of Harvard Street, are both facing drug charges following the execution of search warrants.

Delacruz-Batista is facing single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, trafficking in cocaine, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, possession of a firearm without a firearm identification card, and possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card.

Liriano-Vasquez is being charged with single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of heroin, and possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card.

Both men are being held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $50,000 bail.

The investigation was conducted by members of the Pittsfield, Dalton, Lanesborough, Adams, North Adams, and Great Barrington Police Departments as well as the Berkshire County Sheriff's Department, the state police, the Berkshire County Law Enforcement Task Force and members of the state police's STOP team.



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Superior Court Briefs: June 9 - June 18
Staff Reports On: 11:32AM / Friday June 19, 2015

Cases heard before Judge MaryLou Rup on Tuesday, June 9.

Aaron Tarjick, 39, of Windsor had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on 25 counts of larceny over $250, 14 counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle in the nighttime, nine counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime, seven counts of unarmed burglary, three counts of larceny of a firearm, and single counts of larceny of a motor vehicle and larceny under $250.

Bail was set at $500 cash or $2,500 surety. Tarjick is currently serving time of other charges.

The charges stem from a series of housebreaks in Berkshire County between October 22, 2010 and November 13, 2012.

Cases heard before Judge MaryLou Rup on Wednesday, June 10.

John Smith, 51, of Hinsdale had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of larceny of a firearm, and single counts of unarmed burglary, breaking and entering in the nighttime, conspiracy to commit a crime, and larceny of a motor vehicle.

He was released on personal recognizance. The charges stem from a housebreak that allegedly occurred in Pittsfield on May 28, 2012.

Cases heard before Judge MaryLou Rup on Thursday, June 18.

James Tarjick Jr., 43, of Becket had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on 10 counts of larceny over $250, five counts of unarmed burglary, four counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle in the nighttime, three counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime, three counts of larceny of a firearm, and a single count of receiving stolen property over $250.

He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $50,000 bail. The charges stem from a series of housebreaks in Pittsfield between July 29, 2011 and January 14, 2015.



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Motor Vehicle Catches Fire After Williamstown Crash
By Stephen Dravis On: 12:52PM / Friday June 12, 2015
A motor vehicle that slammed into utility pole on Syndicate Road ignited but the occupant were not seriously injured.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Syndicate Road was closed briefly on Thursday evening after a vehicle crashed into a utility pole near the intersection with North Street (Route 7).

Thomas B. Bourn of Henderson Road was cited for negligent operation of a motor vehicle, a marked lanes violation and speeding after hitting the pole while attempting to make a turn onto Syndicate Road from the southbound lane of North Street, Williamstown Police Officer Michael Ziemba said on Friday.

Bourn and his one passenger were evaluated by personnel from Village Ambulance, treated for minor injuries and released at the scene, Ziemba said.

The accident occurred at 5:42 p.m. Thursday.

Bourn's vehicle ignited and burned after impact with the utility pole, which was bent at its base. Char marks were visible about two-thirds of the way up the pole.

Williamstown Fire Department personnel responded to the scene.

Utility crews were on the scene until 3:30 a.m. Friday replacing the pole.

Syndicate Road was reopened but was closed again on Friday morning for an unrelated issue connected to a water main, Ziemba said.

Ziemba said he did not believe any residents lost electricity service as a result of the accident. A small portion of nearby Williams College was affected, he said. National Grid personnel were able to quickly restore service.



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Adams Boy Struck, Killed Crossing East Road
On: 05:39PM / Tuesday June 09, 2015
Traffic was being turned back at Lime Street on Tuesday because of a fatal pedestrian accident involving a child on East Road.

Update July 8: The driver of the motor vehicle that struck Noah Brown will not be charged, according to Police Chief Richard Tarsa. The investigation concluded that the driver, whose name has not been released, was operating the vehicle properly and that speed was not a factor.

ADAMS, Mass. — An Adams boy has died after being struck by a motor vehicle Tuesday afternoon.

According to the district attorney's office, 8-year-old Noah Brown of 174 East Road and another youth were attempting to cross East Road to go to Brown's home when he was struck by a motor vehicle.  

The other boy was not injured in the accident, which was called in to police about 3 p.m.  

Noah was a third-grader at C.T. Plunkett School.

Adams-Cheshire Superintendent Kristen Gordon described him as "just a fun, little energetic, sweet, kind, little baseball player, the light of his mom's life."

Brown was transported to the Northern Berkshire Campus of Berkshire Medical Center in North Adams by members of the Adams Ambulance Service. He was pronounced dead a short time later.  

Gordon said she and Principal Michelle Colvin and staff members were currently meeting to plan how the school would address the loss on Wednesday.

Third-grade parents were being called to inform of the tragedy so their children wouldn't have to find out at school. Extra adjustment counselors will be on hand and other schools were offering support staff as needed.

"We're really encouraging parents to all send their children back [to school Wednesday] because we're going to have extra support here and we want the kids to all go through this together," Gordon said, adding that research has shown children do best in these circumstances when they can get back to their routine.

Colvin will have a letter for all the children to take home to parents on Wednesday.

"Obviously this is just devastating, and heartbreaking," Gordon said. "He was a wonderful little boy."

She said Adams Police have been very good in keeping school officials informed and that Chief Richard Tarsa had been with Noah's family and with his best friend, who had not yet been informed of Noah's passing.

Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the accident to call the Adams Police Department at 413-743-1212.   

The investigation is being conducted by members of the Adams Police Department, state police assigned to the accident reconstruction unit and state police detectives assigned to the District Attorney’s Office.

The section of road where the accident occurred was closed off for several hours for investigators with the accident reconstruction scene.



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News Headlines
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White Label Agency Hires Several New Staff Members
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Village Ambulance to Host Free CPR Workshops
Dr. Veeranna Joins Cardiology Services at BMC
Mayoral Candidate Tyer Targets Anti-blight Ordinances
Lanesborough's Water Line Project Trending On Budget
Wellington, Roberson Lead Teams to Giorgi League Wins

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