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Electrical Fire at North Adams Stop & Shop Forces Evacuation

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A malfunctioning refrigerated case forced the local Stop & Shop grocery to evacuate customers for more than an hour.

Firefighters responded to a call from the store shortly before 9 p.m., and minutes later called for all off-duty firefighters to stand by the station.

"They didn't know what type of fire it was and then en route, they got a second call that they had attempted to put the fire out with a fire extinguisher and they couldn't do it," said Fire Director Stephen Meranti. "When the guys got here they found a fire in the meat case in the back of the building."

But the fire was pretty much out by the time firefighters arrived after the store manager hit with an extinguisher. They did have to disconnect the electrical, which was still live, and vented the building.

"It was an electrical connection in the cooler so that malfunctioned and that caught some of the plastic shelving on fire," Meranti said. The small fire damaged and burned the back of the cooler.  

The store was allowed to reopen before 10 p.m. after inspections by the building and health departments on the condition the contents in the cooler and near the damaged area were removed.

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Adams McDonald's Closed Tuesday Night by Roof Fire

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff

Firefighters cut into the roof to check if the fire has spread.

ADAMS, Mass. — A quick response prevented a roof fire at McDonald's from spreading.

A couple dozen volunteer firefighters from Adams and Cheshire responded to the report of a structure fire at the burger franchise at about 4:35 p.m. on a bitterly cold Tuesday.

"As I pulled up around the corner, I could see flames showing from the roof area ... underneath the McDonald's sign," said Fire Chief Paul Goyette.

While the cause is still uncertain, Goyette said, "we're leaning on the side of electrical."

Someone driving by reportedly called the McDonald's and told an employee that the building was on fire. The manager called 911 and accessed the roof with a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze. The manager was also able to isolate and shut off the electricity to the interior-lighted sign located across the roof of the building.

Firefighters were able to maneuver the ladder truck into position and went up on the roof to get the blaze, which appears to have been located under the "d's" on the sign and under one of the metal light covers that go up and over the parapet that angles up sharply from the roof line.

"The shingles were burned all the way down [under the cover]," Goyette said. "The heat source was the lighting unit but it was already burning on the roof structure."

Firefighters opened a small section of the roof with a chainsaw to ensure there was no extension of the fire underneath. The fire chief said that was a serious concern because the hollow parapet structure above the roof line would have allowed the fire to spread.

"We wanted to make sure there was no fire in the void," he said, adding that "once there's a fire, it just takes off so fast. It gets into that parapet void and it just takes off."

Goyette said he's seen reports of similarly styled restaurant structures that have been total losses after a fire has gotten into the hollow areas.

"This was an excellent save," he said. "The operation went very well."

The scene was cleared in about an hour. Cheshire Fire was called in for rapid response; local police took care of traffic, although no streets were closed, and Adams Ambulance was on standby at the scene.

The restaurant had been immediately evacuated and employees were sent home. The restaurant was closed for the evening but Goyette thought it possible it could open in the morning. The Board of Health inspector had already been on the scene and the building inspector had been alerted.

The company had an electrician coming to deal with the sign.

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Adams Police Take Armed Man Into Custody After Standoff

Staff Reports

The Berkshire Special Response Team was called in to help defuse the situation. 
ADAMS, Mass. —— Police defused a possibly dangerous situation with a man described as "despondent" on Friday night.
 
The individual, whose name has not been released, was taken into custody just before 7 p.m. and transported to Berkshire Medical Center for evaluation.
 
The incident began around 4:45 p.m. when a third party called to report the individual was in crisis. The apartment building he was in was evacuated. 
 
It was reported over the scanner as a "barricaded homicidal male in a structure that is possibly armed."
 
Summer Street between Winter and Center was blocked off to traffic, as well as the side streets. Massachusetts State Police and the Berkshire Special Response Team were called to the scene.
 
Officers were able to make contact with the individual by phone and a negotiator with the response team was able to convince him to surrender.
 
At about 6:45 a number of officers appeared on the side and front of the building. A few minutes later the suspect was being escorted by four officers to a waiting police cruiser.
 
The scene was cleared by 7:30.
 
Police said the man did have a firearm. No charges have been filed at this time. No one was injured.
 
This article will be updated with more information.
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Superior Court Briefs: Dec. 14 - Dec. 15

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Wednesday, Dec. 14.
 
Max Bohan, 26, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license.
 
He was released on $10,000 bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on September 26, 2016.
 
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Thursday, Dec. 15.
 
Michael Dion, 32, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to a single count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
 
He was ordered to serve two and a half years at the Franklin County House of Correction.
 
The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on September 8, 2015. Single counts of trafficking in cocaine and conspiracy to violate drug laws were dismissed by the state.
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Woman Kidnapped And Robbed From Pittsfield Shopping Center

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. - A woman was abducted from the Coltsville Shopping District and robbed early Wednesday morning. 
 
Police say at about 7:30 a.m. the 52-year-old victim was kidnapped by two men and transported to Springside Park, where she was robbed and then released unharmed. On Thursday, Police arrested 36-year-old Joseph Loftus for the crime but the other man remains on the loose.
 
Loftus will now face kidnapping, masked armed robbery, and larceny over $250 charged in Central Berkshire District Court. He'll be arraigned on Friday. 
 
Police are still looking for any information about the incident and are asking anyone who has any or may have witnessed it to contact the detective bureau at 448-9708, or anonymously through the drug tips hotline at 413-448-9708 or texting PITTIP and the message to 857411. 
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News Headlines
AAU Girls Basketball Team Seeks Players
Housatonic Boys Strong at North Adams Youth Basketball Tourney
Adams, North Adams Softball Leagues Partner Up
North Adams Looks at Shorter Bike Trail Project
Cheshire Historical Commission Want to Save Masonic Lodge
Town Officials Tour Adams-Cheshire Schools
Berkshires Beat: Bad Weather Doesn't Stop Lenox Robotics Team
Adams Selectman Wants to Look Into Splitting Adams-Cheshire District
Holiday Hours: Presidents Day
BMC Rebuilt Surgical Residency Program Earns New Accreditation

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Emergency: 911
Adams 413-743-1212
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Lee 413-243-2100
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State Police  
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413-743-
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Lee Barracks 413-243-0600
Shaftsbury, Vt., Barracks 802-442-3263

 



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