Firefighters Contain Blaze at North Adams Church
|The ladder truck from the Adams Fire Department is used to view the roof of the parish hall at All Saints Episcopal Church on Saturday.|
Update: The third floor of the parish hall will have to be gutted and restored; water damage also affected the second floor and down into the kitchen, requiring repairs of those areas.
Remediation work on the parish hall began on Monday.
The religious education classes and the nursery on the third floor will be moved into the church for the time being.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters contained a top-floor blaze at All Saints Episcopal Church early Saturday evening.
A box alarm in the building alerted emergency crews at 7:51 p.m. to the fire on the third floor of the attached parish hall.
"When the guys got on scene we had firing showing from the third-floor window," said Fire Director Stephen Meranti. "We immediately called for an all-call to get all firefighters and officers in."
The blaze was under control within a half-hour but it was a couple hours before firefighters began to wrap up the scene.
The cause of the fire has not been determined and the department was keeping a fire watch through the night.
Services and Meals on Wheels deliveries for Sunday have been canceled.
Meranti said Lt. Mike Goodson supervised the response as firefighters stretched the line to the third floor and found the fire in a room off the center hallway.
"The knocked down the fire fairly quickly and it was contained to that one room," he said.
Witnesses said they could see smoke and some flames coming from the parish hall on the west side of the roof. Meranti said there was concern the fire had gotten into the attic but the flames were actually coming out through the small third-floor window.
The Adams Fire Department was called for the use of its ladder truck, just in case. "It's a big building," said Meranti.
The ladder truck was extended to survey the roof of the parish hall. Five firetrucks in all, plus the city's wire and alarm division, police and North Adams Ambulance Service responded to the scene. Summer Street was closed from Ashland Street to the former Kmart parking lot.
No one was in the parish hall at the time of the fire but a meeting being held in the church's basement was cut short. Services had been held in the church a few hours earlier.
Members of the parish council said the third floor contained the nursery and educational classes, which had been renovated in recent years. The rooms had also been painted and new carpet laid down.
The second floor holds the church's library and programming space.
Meranti said there was "extensive damage to the third floor, we have water damage to the building and damage to the fire alarm system."
The church itself, the former St. John's, was not damaged but the building cannot operate without the alarms, said Meranti.
Members of the parish leadership were allowed in to assess the damage, their observations being that it was bad, "but it could be worse."
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Superior Court Briefs: January 27 - January 29
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Monday, January 27.
Deon Allen, 22, of Waterbury, Conn. was sentenced to five seven years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on single counts of armed robbery and assault and batter with a dangerous weapon. He was give a concurrent two to three year sentence on a single count of intimidation of a witness.
Allen was found guilty on the three charges by a jury on Jan. 16. The charges stemmed from an incident in Great Barrington involving a 26-year-old man on September 15, 2012.
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday, January 28.
David Biros, 47, of Adams had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of receiving stolen property over $250 and common receiver of stolen goods.
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $5,000 bail. Biros was allegedly in possession of stolen property which he then sold on e-Bay between October 21 and November 13, 2013.
Terry Martizna Jr., 23, of Lanesborough had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of armed assault with intent to murder, two counts of possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card and single counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, illegal possession of a firearm, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling and possession of oxycodone.
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $100,000 bail. The charges stem from an incident in Pittsfield on December 5, 2013 when Martizna allegedly fire several shots at two men on Madison Avenue.
Matthew Calautti, 28, of Windsor had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of armed assault with intent to rob and assault by means of a dangerous weapon.
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $5,000 cash or $50,000 surety bail. The charges stem from an attempt to take money from an employees at Subway on Tyler Street in Pittsfield on January 3, 2014.
Greg Meddaugh, 49, of Pittsfield had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of assault with intent to commit rape. He also had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of assault and battery on a disabled person.
The first charge allegedly occurred in Pittsfield on November 27, 2013 and involved a 28-year-old woman. The other allegedly occurred in Pittsfield on September 18, 2013 and involved a 52-year-old woman.
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $10,000 bail.
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Wednesday, January 29.
Catherine Brackett, 22, of NOrth Adams had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on two counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws and single counts of distribution of cocaine and assault and battery on a public employee.
She was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $1,000 cash or $10,000 surety bail. The incidents allegedly occurred in North Adams between January 1, 2013 and November 26, 2013.
Deborah Johnson, 47, of Housatonic pleaded guilty to two counts of distribution of cocaine.
She was placed on two years probabtion. Johnson sold cocaine in Pittsfield on September 8, 2007 and September 10, 2007.
Johnte Smith, 25, of Bronx, N.Y. had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of distribution of cocaine, two counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws and single counts of trafficking in cocaine, possession of heroin with intent to distribute and possession of cocaine wit intent to distribute.
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $50,000 cash or $500,000 surety bail. The incidents allegedly occurred in North Adams between January 1, 2013 and November 26, 2013.
Derrick Witter, 31, of Bronx, N.Y. had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws and single counts of trafficking in cocaine, possession of heroin with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine.
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $70,000 cash or $700,000 surety bail. The incidents allegedly occurred in North Adams between January 1, 2013 and November 26, 2013.
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Williamstown Closes Spring Street For 'Beeping' Package
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Spring Street was shut down for just short of an hour Wednesday morning after the Post Office received a suspicious beeping package.
Police report that Spring Street was closed at 9:20 a.m. investigate the package because it was emitting a series of beeping sounds. The town's main shopping street was closed as police and firefighters inspected the item.
Chief Kyle Johnson said the noises were coming from an electronic game from what was a care package from a Williams College student's parents. Williams College Security found the student and determined what the package was.
The road was reopened shortly after 10 a.m.
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Jury Finds Former School Counselor Not Guilty of Rape
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A jury has acquitted a former school counselor of rape and indecent assault charges.
Scott M. Muir, 38, of Stockbridge was found not guilty after 2 1/2 hours of deliberation in Berkshire Superior Court on Tuesday of five counts of rape of a child with force and 14 counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.
The charges date back to when he was a school counselor at the Stockbridge Plain School between 2003 and 2006. Five girls, between the ages of 8 and 10, claimed to have been sexually assaulted by Muir.
Muir was charged with the crimes in April of 2012. At the time of the charges, he held municipal jobs including Stockbridge's emergency management director and facilities manager, and was a member of the Board of Health and an emergency medical technician with the Lee Volunteer Ambulance Service.
Muir pleaded not guilty to all counts. In the trial that began last week, several of the alleged victims, now in their late teens, testified that Muir had fondled them. However, an internal investigation could substantiate the complaints made at the time.
The investigation was conducted by state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office.
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Superior Court Briefs: January 21
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday, January 21.
John Poole, 52, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to five counts of knowingly possessing visual material of a child depicted in sexual conduct.
He was ordered to serve concurrent four to five years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on four counts and give two to three years on the other - serving a total of six to eight years.
Poole possessed child pornography in Pittsfield on December 19, 2012.
Katie Lynn Denise Powers, 27, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit: possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
She was placed on one-year probation. Powers conspired with others to sell cocaine between December 22, 2009 and March 3, 2010.
Single counts of trafficking in cocaine and possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute were dismissed by the state.
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