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Adams Firefighters Douse Flaming Hot Tub

Staff Reports

The fire was contained quickly but firefighters stayed at the scene for more than an hour.
ADAMS, Mass. — A relaxing hot tub soak could have turned into a tragedy on Wednesday night when the unit's motor malfunctioned. 
 
Firefighters responded to what was reported as an electrical problem with a hot tub about 9:24 p.m. The quick response of a relative of the homeowner, who also happens to be an assistant fire chief, is credited with keeping it under control.
 
"He got here quick. By the time he got here, he had fire showing in the cellar around the hot tub, around all the wood that contained the hot tub," said Fire Chief Paul Goyette. 
 
The owners had seen smoke but at first thought it was steam coming off the water, he said. When they realized it was a fire, they immediately put in the call. 
 
It took about four fire extinguishers and 50 gallons of water to completely douse the blaze. There was some difficulty in venting the smoke, which continued to spill from the single family home for about an hour. 
 
"It was a good knockdown," Goyette said. 
 
Despite the small size of the blaze, a full contingent was one scene, including equipment and personnel from the Forest Wardens, Cheshire and Savoy. Narrow Walling Road lies outside the Fire District and Goyette said he wanted the right equipment on hand. 
 
"There's no hydrants, so that's why I called for tanker and I would have called for more if it was worse," he said. 
 
Adams Police and Adams Ambulance Service also responded. There was minimal water damage to the house.
 
"The hot tub is totaled, it will never be used again," Goyette said, adding jokingly, "nor would they want to put another one in there."
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Pittsfield Student Arrested For Threatening to Blow Up School Bus

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A middle school student was arrested for allegedly threatening to blow up a school bus.
 
Police say shortly before 1 p.m. on Monday three calls were made by a 15-year-old to a School Department employee's cell phone saying, "I'm going to blow up 126 today." The "126" reference was the bus number the employee was assigned to work. 
 
At the time, the bus was in the School Bus Operations Center on Merrill road after completing the morning routes. Authorities worked with the School Department to remove all other buses from the yard and the Pittsfield Fire Department relocated the 126 to a remote and isolated location.
 
Just before 3 p.m. Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad finished an inspection and found no threat existed. The bus was placed back in service.
 
Pittsfield Police continued the investigation and identified the middle school student as a suspect. He was arrested and charged with a single count of threat concerning the location of a dangerous item. He was arraigned in Pittsfield Juvenile Court.
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Medford Woman Killed in MassPike Accident

LEE, Mass. — A Medford woman died after a one-car crash on the Massachusetts Turnpike on Monday morning.
 
The accident, which occurred in the westbound lane near the 13.6 mile marker in Lee, was reported at 7:48 a.m. 
 
Bernadette D. Murch, 53, the operator and only occupant of the vehicle, was transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield. She was pronounced dead a short time after arrival.
 
Preliminary investigation by Trooper Eric Bauman indicates that Murch's 2015 Fiat 500 was westbound in Lee when, for reasons still under investigation, the vehicle went off the right side of the road and rolled over.

The investigation is being conducted by state troopers assigned to the Westfield barracks with the assistance of state police detectives assigned to the Berkshire district attorney's office and troopers assigned to the Crime Scene Services and Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Sections of the state police. State police were assisted by Lee Fire, EMS and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
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Retired Pittsfield Firefighter Saves Two Dogs From Burning Home

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — When retired firefighter Matthew Kudlate returned to his New Hampshire Avenue home Monday afternoon, he noticed black smoke billowing from his neighbor's house. That's when his instincts kicked in.
 
"I was just out for a drive, I pulled up to the house and there was heavy black smoke pouring out of the eaves. I called the Fire Department. I went into the back door, I know the neighbors and wanted to make sure they were out of there. I knew they had two dogs and I was able to get them out of the back door," Kudlate said.
 
Kudlate knew one of his neighbors was disabled and could struggle to get out in the case of a fire. He did a quick search and found nobody inside. 
 
He then chased after a poodle, which was running around the house, and a golden retriever, which didn't want to move. He pulled each out of them from the home.
 
"They fought me every step of the way. One was a bit larger, the other was fast and running around," Kudlate said. "They were scared, of course, and were nipping at me on the way out."
 
As he pulled the last one out, the Fire Department arrived at the scene.
 
"They got in quick, pulled a line, and saved a good portion of the home," said Fire Captain Neil Myers. "It was a pretty textbook save."
 
Firefighters confined the fire to the second floor of the home of the family with two children. It isn't known what caused the blaze yet, but the department was able to limit the damage. 
 
Myers said there is heavy smoke damage on the second floor, mostly confined to the front bedroom where it began. There is also some heat and smoke damage to rooms in the back portion of the second floor. The first floor sustained water damage. Myers credited the firefighters on scene for knocking the fire down quickly, limiting the amount of damage. 
 
Nobody was injured in the blaze, nor were there any animals harmed. Part of the reason for that is because of Kudlate.
 
"It was an instinct. I was a Pittsfield firefighter for 10 years. I had to retire because of an injury. It was just instinctual to make sure everybody was out of the house," Kudlate said. 
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Identity of Body Found Saturday in Pittsfield Released

Staff Reports
Police vehicles blocked a waste container on 771 Tyler and evidence was being collected on Saturday.

Updated with new information at 7:12 p.m.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The body of a 22-year-old Pittsfield man was discovered in a trash roll-off behind a Tyler Street business late Saturday afternoon, according to the Berkshire district attorney's office. 

 
Investigators believe that Louis E. Ely, of Briggs Avenue, climbed into the climbed into the container. Foul play is not suspected in his death. 
 
The discovery a body had been rumored and there was a heavy police presence at a parking lot at 771 Tyler St. on Saturday. Police, at the time, declined to confirm or deny the discovery.
 
Police crime scene tape was stretched in front of the waste container at the end of a parking lot adjacent 771 Tyler on late Saturday afternoon. Several Pittsfield Police vehicles were at the scene and one investigator in a white coverall was collecting evidence. 
 
An autopsy was conducted today by Associate Medical Examiner Dr. Robert Welton at the Holyoke Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The determination of the cause and manner of death are pending further toxicological and other testing.  
 
The investigation is being conducted by members of the Pittsfield Police Department. 
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