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Great Barrington Fire Fights House Blaze Twice

Great Barrington Fire Department
Community Submission

The fire left the home's seven residents displaced.

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Firefighters rescued an elderly man from a house fire Saturday afternoon from a two-alarm fire caused by cooking and had to return to the home on Sunday morning after a second fire ignited.

The home owned by Ruby Fuller for 50 years is a total loss. A GoFundMe page has been set up for the retired caretaker and foster parent, who had children living in the house with her. A total of seven people have been displaced.

According to Chief Charles Burger, the department responded on Saturday at 2:51 p.m. to 26 Dresser Ave. on a report of a kitchen stove fire at the two-story, wood frame, single-family home.

Upon arrival, firefighters and police officers, who also arrived on scene, learned that a 76-year-old man was trapped inside. Heavy smoke and flames engulfed the first floor of the home, with extension to the second floor.

Police, with assistance from a firefighter, were able to rescue the man by pulling him out of the house through a first-floor window. The man was then transported by Southern Berkshire Ambulance to Fairview Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

A second alarm was struck as firefighters on Engine 3 made an aggressive attack on the first floor, verifying the remaining six occupants were out of the home, and then extinguishing the blaze 15 minutes later.

Crews from Sheffield, Egremont, Monterey, Stockbridge, and Lenox Fire Departments also responded to assist, along with the Hinsdale Fire Department's rehab truck and the Great Barrington support group, which is made up of wives and mothers of firefighters who provide food and water to crews. Firefighters remained on scene for several hours overhauling the building before clearing the scene around 7 p.m.

One firefighter from Great Barrington suffered non-life threatening injuries, and was treated and released from the hospital later that day.  

Great Barrington firefighters continued to make regular checks of the home throughout the night and into the morning. A half hour after one of their checks, on Sunday, Dec. 12, around 11 a.m., firefighters received a 911 call that the home had once again caught fire.

Upon firefighters' arrival to the scene, they saw that the house was completely engulfed in flames, with fire coming out of every window. The Great Barrington Fire Department and the state fire marshal's office are currently still at the residence putting out hot spots.

The home is completely destroyed. The American Red Cross is working with the seven displaced residents to provide temporary housing.

Additionally, the Multicultural BRIDGE groups is working to provide meals, transportation and services to the family. Residents wishing to help out can donate through the GoFundMe page.

"This is an extremely unfortunate situation, where one family lost their home and all of their belongings in one day," Chief Burger said. "We encourage anyone who can help make this family's holiday as special as always, to please donate."

The origin and cause of the second fire remain under investigation by the Great Barrington Fire Department and state fire marshal's office.

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Superior Court Briefs: Dec. 7

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Wednesday, Dec. 7.
 
Omar Enriquez, 40, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of rape and abuse of a child and a single count of disseminating harmful matter to a minor.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $20,000 bail. Enriquez is accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old Pittsfield girl between May 17,2014 and November 9, 2016.
 
Alexander Kushi, 24, of Sheffield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of assault with intent to commit rape and indecent assault and battery.
 
Kushi is accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old woman in Washington on July 20, 2016.
 
Stephen Stanley, 31, of North Adams had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of breaking and entering in the daytime, two counts of larceny over $250, and a single count of larceny under $250.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $7,500 cash or $75,000 surety bail. The charges stem from housebreaks in North Adams between August 21, 2016 and August 23, 2016.
 
Michael Womack, 37, of Torrington, Conn. had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon, and single counts of illegal possession of a firearm, illegal possession of a loaded firearm, armed career felon, intimidation of a witness or other person, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, using a motor vehicle without authority, and disturbing the peace.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $50,000 cash or surety. The charges stem from an incident in Lenox on August 10, 2016.
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Pittsfield Police Investigating Wednesday Night Shooting

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police are investigating a shooting that sent a 22-year-old man to the hospital.
 
Police say at about 4:49 p.m. on Wednesday officers responded to the area of Linden Street at Daniels Avenue for reports of shots fire. There they found the 22-year-old with multiple gunshot wounds to the leg.
 
The victim is in stable condition and the injuries are non-life threatening, according to police, and there is no information to indicate a threat to the general public.
 
Police are asking anyone with information to contact the detective bureau at 413-448- 9700.
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Pedestrian Struck on Pittsfield's West Housatonic Street

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A pedestrian was struck by a car in front of Clapp Park on Thursday afternoon.
 
Police say an elderly man was walking on the sidewalk around 12:30 p.m. when a westbound vehicle went off the road, crashed into a sign, knocked down a utility pole, and hit him. The pedestrian was taken to Berkshire Medical Center with "serious injuries" and the driver was transported there with non-life threatening injuries.
 
"The operator was a gentleman who was transferred to BMC with what I would say non-life threatening injuries. Unfortunately, the elderly gentleman had serious injuries. I don't know if they were life-threatening but it was serious," said Police Lt. Michael Maddalena.
 
The reason why the driver veered off the road is currently unknown and police had not released the names of those involved when this was published.
 
The crash caused the closure of West Housatonic Street from Center to South Merriam for more than 90 minutes.The utility pole had fallen into the roadway and had to be removed. 
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Pittsfield Firefighters Pull Man From Burning Building

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters pulled one man from flames after the apartments above Tahiti Takeout caught fire early Thursday morning.
 
The department responded to the blaze shortly before 4:30 a.m. and upon arrival there were heavy flames shooting out of the back of the building. Firefighters were told there was one person unaccounted for and launched an interior search, finding one man in the flames.
 
"Upon arrival they found heavy fire in the back of the building. Our crews found out some of the occupants were outside of the building  and one occupant was unaccounted for. Our crew went in and made a rescue," Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said. 
 
Lt. Michael D'Avella and probationary firefighter Jarrett Robitaille pulled the man from the building. He was then transferred to Berkshire Medical Center and later transported to Worcester for further treatment for burns. The other six occupants in the apartments were unharmed.
 
The department then fought the fire that gutted the second floor.
 
"It took us a little bit to get it down but it was knocked down through aggressive interior firefighting. We did have to open the roof. We did have to call mutual aid today from the towns of Dalton and Lenox," Czerwinski said. 
 
The cause of the fire is still unknown but the chief says it started on the upper floors, and not from the restaurant. The restaurant did sustain water damage.
 
"We believe it started on the second floor. There is little damage to the first floor and the kitchen area. We have no reason to believe it was a kitchen fire that extended upward,"  he said.
 
The state fire marshal is on scene with Pittsfield Fire and Police investigating the blaze. The fire was reported early in the morning and Wahconah Street was closed in the section surrounding the restaurant. That section is expected to remain closed throughout the day while investigators are on scene. 
 
"Our guys did a great job this morning. There was a rescue right off the bat and that is always a challenge for any crew at 4:30 in the morning," Czerwinski said. 
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