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Dry Conditions Led To Small Fire At Pittsfield Business

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Dry conditions led to a small fire under the loading dock of a Fourth Street furniture store Tuesday morning.
 
Firefighters were called to 177 Fourth Street at about 9:45 a.m. for a report of a structure fire. By the time they arrived, an employee had already snuffed the blaze out with a fire extinguisher.
 
"It turned out to be a smoldering fire in the back loading dock. Fortunately it was contained to that local area," Deputy Chief Mark Cancilla said. "One of the occupants from the woodworking shop grabbed a fire extinguisher, hit it. But we didn't know if it stretched into the walls so that's why we had to lay lines and put ladders up."
 
Multiple engines responded to the call to protect the building. The old warehouse structure is one Cancilla said could burn quickly if the fire had climbed into the walls, and on arrival there was smoke inside the building.
 
"This in an old building and once they get going, if you can't nip it in the bud, you can lose a building like this pretty quick," Cancilla said.
 
The building is safe and will be reoccupied, he said. The response did however force the closure of a small section of Fourth Street. A hydrant was located across the street and Police were on scene to close the road so that no one would drive over or into the hose. The road was reopened about an hour later.
 
Cancilla said he did notice some cigarette butts on the ground nearby and suspects that is what caused the fire. He said he's seen many fires start in such weather conditions in similar ways. The conditions are such that no burning permits are allowed.
 
"We've got very low humidly today, you've got wind, so it doesn't take much when it is this dry for a fire to get going like that," Cancilla said.
 
He reminds residents to make sure cigarettes are disposed of properly. 
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Superior Court Briefs: April 12 - April 14

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday, April 12.
 
Stephanie Carsno, 31, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute - her second offense - and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
 
She was ordered to be held at the Hampden County House of Correction on $1,000 bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at her home on March 4, 2016.
 
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Thursday, April 14.
 
John Hobart III, 31, of Housatonic pleaded guilty to seven counts of larceny over $250, five counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime, and single counts of possession of burglarious tools, receiving stolen property over $250, and leaving the scene of a property damage accident.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent three to four years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the breaking and entering and larceny charges. HE was given concurrent one-year sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the other charges.
 
Hobart admitted to breaking into numerous building in Great Barrington between October 14, 2015 and January 11, 2016. HE also admitted to stealing property from Stockbridge on December 12, 2015 and leaving the scene of a property damage accident in Stockbridge on January 18, 2016.
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Pittsfield Firefighters Snuff Out Attic Fire On Dawes Ave.

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters snuffed out an attic fire on Dawes Avenue Tuesday night.
 
According to Deputy Fire Chief Andrew Stephenson, firefighters were called to 53 Dawes Avenue at about 10:30. Upon arrival a small fire was located in the attic and a man was injured.
 
"One occupant burned his hands trying to control the fire. He sought medical attention," Stephenson wrote in a report on the incident. 
 
The fire was apparently caused by "improper disposal of a cigarette" and one room, which was used for storage, was damaged. However, the home is likely habitable, Stephenson said, depending on inspections on Wednesday. 
 
"The fire was brought under control and extinguished shortly after arrival by fire crews," Stephenson wrote.
 
The man who was injured sought medical attention from County Ambulance on scene but ultimately provided his own transportation to the hospital. The house is occupied by three people, all of whom found alternative housing Tuesday night. No firefighters were injured in response. 
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Superior Court Briefs: April 4 - April 7

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Monday, April 4. 
 
Laquan Johnson, 20, of Pittsfield entered not guilty pleas on single counts of second degree murder, armed assault with intent to rob, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and illegal possession of a firearm.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail. Johnson is accused of shooting 29-year-old Anthony Gamache in the leg in the Big Y parking lot on November 14, 2014. Gamache died the next day.
 
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday, April 5. 
 
Peter Campbell, 19, of Pittsfield entered not guilty pleas on two counts of armed assault with intent to rob, and a single count of second degree murder.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail. Campbell is accused of shooting 29-year-old Anthony Gamache in the leg in the Big Y parking lot on November 14, 2014. Gamache died the next day.
 
Damian Ivas, 40, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of threatened use or presence of explosives, chemical or biological agents causing evacuation or disruption, and a single count of threatened use or presence of explosives, chemical or biological agents.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. He is currently being held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on other charges. Ivas is accused of making several bomb threats on January 7, 2016.
 
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Wednesday, April 6.
 
Matthew Rivera, 22, of Lee had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of armed assault with intent to rob, two counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon, two counts of assault and battery, and single counts of kidnapping, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and intimidation of a witness or other person.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. The charges stem from an incident in Lee and Pittsfield where two men, ages 31 and 34, were assaulted. The incident allegedly occurred on January 26, 2016.
 
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Thursday, April 7.
 
Steven Cote, 45, of Adams pleaded guilty to single counts of operating under the influence of alcohol - his fifth offense- negligent operation of a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license for an operating under the influence offense, and possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle.
 
He was ordered to serve two and a half years at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the operation under the influence charge. He was given six-months on the operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license charge. He was given concurrent two-year sentence of the negligent operation of a motor vehicle charge. And, the open container charge was placed on file.
 
In total he will serve three years at the Berkshire County House of Correction.
 
The charges stem from an incident in North Adams on December 11, 2015.
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Pittsfield Man Charged in Break-in, Stealing Pickup Truck

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — A Pittsfield man has been arrested in connection with a break-in at a Stockbridge Road restaurant after leading police on a chase across several South County towns.

Chief William Walsh said the Great Barrington Police Department, working collaboratively with neighboring police, arrested the man on Wednesday.

Nathan P. Lopes, 22, of Tyler Street has been charged with:

• Breaking and entering into a building during the nighttime to commit a felony
• Larceny over $250
• Possession of a stolen vehicle

The arrest of Lopes is part of an ongoing investigation into break-ins and larcenies from several buildings and businesses in multiple communities late Tuesday evening into Wednesday, including Egremont and West Stockbridge. Additional charges may be forthcoming.

At approximately 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Egremont Police received a call from county dispatch of a possible break-in at a house on Seekonk Cross Road. At the same time, Egremont Sgt. Hans Carlsen was investigating a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot of Mom's Restaurant on Route 23 in Egremont.

That officer informed dispatch that Seekonk Cross Road was located in Great Barrington. Great Barrington Police Officer Victor Zucco was unable to find the house on Seekonk Cross Road, and it is now believed that the operator of the suspicious vehicle at Mom's made a fake call to thwart police.

While searching for the house break-in, Zucco observed taillights in the distance and attempted to catch up with the vehicle. The vehicle, a pickup truck, kept driving away and Zucco lost sight of it. Both Zucco and Carlsen continued to search for the truck and crossed into Alford. While on East Road, Carlsen saw the truck in front of him going at a high rate of speed and he attempted to stop it. The truck crashed into a tree whereupon the operator fled on foot while throwing away wads of cash.

The suspect, identified as Lopes was captured, subdued, and placed in handcuffs. He was then transported to Fairview Hospital for minor facial injuries. The truck was a total loss.

State police from the Lee Barracks were called to investigate the accident as the incident was now in West Stockbridge.

Lopes was found to be intoxicated and operating the vehicle with a suspended license, and he will face additional charges from the state police.

Around 9 a.m., police at the accident scene in West Stockbridge notified Great Barrington Police that they found receipts from the Xicohtencatl Mexican Restaurant on Stockbridge Road in Great Barrington. Officer Adam Carlotto went to the closed restaurant and found an open window and fresh footprints. The owners later confirmed that they were missing money.

Police also recovered a large amount of cash, some beer and more receipts from Xicohtencatl while inventorying Lopes' possessions after his arrest.

Early Wednesday morning, a Pittsfield resident called the Pittsfield Police Department to report his truck stolen. The truck turned out to be the same truck that Lopes was operating.

Police from Great Barrington, Pittsfield, Egremont, and state police and the State Police Crime Scene Services Section all worked together Wednesday on the investigation, which remains ongoing.

Lopes is being held on $7,500 bail at the Great Barrington lockup and will be arraigned in Southern Berkshire District Court on Thursday morning.

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