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North Adams Blaze Leaves Families Without Homes, Pets

Staff Reports
iBerkshires Staff
Firefighters battled

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — At least four people were left homeless Saturday night after a a 2-alarm fire destroyed a four-unit residence on Furnace Street.

On officer on patrol downtown first noticed the smoke billowing above 222-224 Furnace St.,  said Fire Director Stephen Meranti on Sunday. Flames were already coming through the roof when the first firefighters arrived on scene.

"It had a good jump on us," he said. "It's a good thing the building had smoke alarms.  ... They were able to evacuate the building before it got into the apartments."

Kara Delisle was awakened by the alarms in her second-floor apartment in the back of the building. According to posts by a relative on Facebook, "she opened the door and was met by flames that instantly blew into her kitchen as broken glass flew past her face."  

Delisle quickly woke her daughter, Miaah Lynn Southard, and was able to get out of the building. Firefighters also checked the other three units, said Meranti, and were told that one was unoccupied and the two occupants of the other apartments were out — only to come to find their homes ablaze.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Delisle, who lost everything in the fire.

While no one was injured at the scene, Delisle's two cats, Ming and Menelaus, are unaccounted for. A rabbit is also believed to have perished and a dog that was rescued later succumbed to its injuries.

The building was a total loss and was knocked down Sunday as a precautionary measure.

"We couldn't go into the building because it was structurally unsafe," said Meranti. "That made it more difficult."

The structure was located on narrow Furnace Street, which drops off in the back to homes below on Francis, making it harder to access the fire in the rear. Meranti said larger diameter hoses were used to contain the blaze over several hours and prevent it from spreading to nearby homes, but parts of the building were still burning when it was knocked down.

The state fire marshal's office is investigating the cause. Meranti said it appears to have begun on the exterior in the back and moved quickly up into a porch roof and into the attic.

An "all-call" was made for off-duty firefighters to respond; Clarksburg Fire Department also responded and helped cover the city. North Adams Ambulance Service set up its rehab tent to provide some respite from the chilly temperatures and sleet. The department's chaplain, the Rev. David Anderson from First Baptist, also was there and representatives from the Red Cross offered aide to the tenants.

Owner David Andreatta, who lives nearby, was also at the scene. The road was closed to through traffic between Reservoir Road and Walnut until late afternoon on Sunday.

Editor's Note: If anyone knows of fundraising efforts for the other occupants of the building, send to info@iberkshires.com and they will be added to the article.

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Fatal Accident in North Adams Closes Massachusetts Ave

Staff Reports

Update at 11:20 p.m., Oct. 16:  Police have identified the victim in Friday's fatal crash as Anthony Corsi, 62, of North Adams.

Corsi was eastbound in a 2010 Rav 4 when it collided with a 2005 GMC utility truck driven Matthew Reynolds, 29, also of North Adams. Reynolds and three minor children who were passengers in the truck were taken by North Adams Ambulance to the Berkshire Medical Center Emergency Facility in North Adams. Their condition was not known.

The accident occurred at about 3:25 p.m. near 541 Massachusetts Ave. North Adams Fire and Police also responded to the scene and Clarksburg Police assisted with control of the scene. The accident is still under investigation.

The road was reopened at about 8 p.m. Traffic was detoured over Route 2, causing backups during the evening rush hour.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A head-on collision resulted in a fatality on Friday afternoon. Police are withholding the name of the man killed pending notification of kin.

The crash occurred at about 4 p.m. on Massachusetts Avenue Extension, in the "dip" at the top of the hill, when an eastbound car collided with a westbound truck carrying an adult and three children.

Lt. William Baker said preliminary investigation indicated the car veered into the westbound lane, striking the truck.

The truck's passengers were taken to the Berkshire Medical Center Emergency Facility in North Adams. Baker said he did not know the extent of their injuries but that they did not appear to be serious.

The car had only the male driver.

Both vehicles sustained extensive front-end damage.

The road was blocked between Brown Street and Roberts Drive for about an hour, when the blockade on the east end was moved to just past Tyler Street. Traffic was backed up along Route 2 during the rush hour traffic.

The state police accident reconstruction team arrived shortly after 5 p.m. and the road was expected to be closed for at least a couple hours.

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Pittsfield Woman Crashes Into Pittsfield Co-op Drive-Thru

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. - A city woman crashed her vehicle into the drive thru of the Pittsfield Cooperative Bank on Dalton Avenue Monday after suffering from a medical condition.
Police say Helen Gagnon, 57, of Pittsfield was traveling westbound Monday afternoon when "she suffered from an apparent medical condition." Her 2011 Chevrolet sedan veered off the road, through landscaping, and collided with the drive thru.
Gagnon was transported to Berkshire Medical Center by County Ambulance. The crash is still under investigation and anyone who may have witnessed the crash is asked to contact Officer James McIntyre at 413-448-9700. 
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Cheshire Police Seeking Information on Playground Vandalism

By Jack Guerino

CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Cheshire Police Department is asking for residents with any information to contact the station about vandalism at the school playground.

According to a post Monday afternoon on the department's Facebook page the new playground equipment at Cheshire Elementary school has been vandalized.

The post read:

"Someone has vandalized the new playground equipment that numerous volunteers spent countless hours erecting. Now those same volunteers are spending their Columbus Day scrubbing and cleaning the equipment."

The police are investigating and urge residents with any information call the cruiser cell phone at 413-446-3920 or the station at 413-743-1501 and leave a message.

"In such a close tight knit Community, we cannot allow for this to happen again," read the post. "Thanks for your help and a BIG thanks to the volunteers over there cleaning it up."

Last year the Cheshire Parent-Teacher Group inquired of the Selectmen about the possibility of replacing old equipment.

The playground committee needed to raise $12,000 for the equipment that would be matched by the playground developer.

After receiving a William and Margery Barrett Fund grant for $8,000, in addition to $4,000 of raised money, the playground committee was able to install the playground.

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Superior Court Briefs: Oct. 6 - Oct. 8

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, Oct. 6.
Kyle Forbes, 22, of Dalton had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of unarmed robbery, stealing by confining, and larceny from a building.
He was released on $1,000 cash or $10,000 surety bail. The charges stem from the robbery of the Shell gas station in Dalton on July 19, 2015.
Jeffrey Petryk, 55, of Pittsfield had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of possession of child pornography. 
He was released on $500 bail. Petryk is accused of being in possession of child pornography on January 6, 2015.
John Squires III, 31, of Dalton had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of unarmed robbery, stealing by confining, larceny from a building and intimidation of a witness. 
He was released on $1,000 cash or $10,000 surety bail. The charge stem from a robbery of the Shell gas station in Dalton on July 19, 2015.
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, Oct. 8.
Timothy Dayton, 49, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of operating under the influence of alcohol - his third offense - and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license in connection with an incident in Pittsfield on February 4, 2015.
He also had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on a single count of operating under the influence of alcohol - his third offense - negligent operation of a motor vehicle, two counts of leaving the scene of property damage, single counts of operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, and failure to stop for a police officer in connection with an incident in Lenox on September 11, 2015.
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail.
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