Pittsfield Police Log: Aug. 5 - Aug. 8
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Here are copied of the Police log from Aug. 5 until Aug. 8.
Pittsfield Police Log 8-05-2014
Pittsfield Police Log 8-06-2014
Pittsfield Police Log 8-07-2014
Pittsfield Police Log 8-08-2014
Pittsfield Home Struck By Lightning
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Lightning stuck an Onota Street home Tuesday night, setting it on fire and damaging the electrical systems.
According to Deputy Chief Michael Polidoro, three engines responded to a structure fire at 24 Onota St. and upon arrival found a small fire. Firefighters quickly snuffed out the blaze, which damaged the exterior siding and the utilities on the two-family structure.
Onota Street was closed to traffic from West Street to Schuyler Street for more than an hour while three engines, Police, Berkshire Gas, the building inspector and Western Mass Electric Co. responded in the thunderstorm.
The lightning struck the home at about 9:30 p.m.
Pittsfield Police Release Cause Of Fatal Crash at PHS
The car was seen speeding through the intersection of Second and East Streets.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police say the driver of the car that slammed into the front of Pittsfield High School in January was high on PCP.
The January crash
killed Tariq Sally, 34, and Ernest Duck Jr., 37.
The two were in a white 2013 Nassan Altima, owned by Hertz Corp., that was traveling more than 100 mph through the Second Street intersection when it slammed into the wall outside of the school.
Police on Wednesday said toxicology showed the driver, Duck, was found to have phencyclidine (PCP) and marijuana in his system. PCP is commonly mixed with marijuana and has hallucinogenic properties.
Duck reportedly had 270 nanograms per milliliter in his system, police say, and studies from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has shown that patients with half that dosage have shown psychotic behavior — such as mania, depression and schizophrenia.
"Based upon all available evidence, it is apparent that the cause of the crash is the fact that Mr. Duck Jr. was under the influence of PCP and was not able to safely operate a motor vehicle," according to the police report.
Police have also ruled out that the vehicle itself was defective. Police say the vehicle was being actively steered and was negotiated through traffic as it approached East Street. The vehicle's airbag control recorded no diagnostic trouble codes for any component of the throttle or braking system. The vehicle accelerated for the five seconds leading to the crash with only some last second braking, police said.
Duck was not wearing a seat belt at the time; Salley was.
Witnesses also attested that the vehicle was not being chased, despite multiple rumors following the crash that they were.
The crash not only triggered a massive response from the police and fire departments but also fueled an array of rumors as to what led to the crash. Police had suspicions then of the cause but hadn't released any information until this week, after medical examination reports were returned.
Because of a large influx of family and friends of the victims descending on the hospital at the time, Berkshire Medical Center implemented additional security measures, which fueled even more speculation.
Hospital officials at the time said some secondary doors were locked earlier than normal and the Berkshire County sheriff's department assisted hospital security in ensuring access during the "considerable influx" of people to the emergency room.
Lanesborough Police Warn Of Home Breaks
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Police are asking residents to report anything suspicious as they try to halt a rash of home break ins.
Police posted on Facebook Tuesday afternoon asking residents to call them at 443-4107 if they see anything suspicious.
"We expect most reports to be unfounded or explainable, however, if you observe someone or a vehicle that seems unusual or out of place, or a stranger is looking for directions or a lost pet, do not hesitate to call as soon as possible with whatever information you are able to gather. You are not being a bother or overreacting!" Police wrote.
"Helpful information could include the subjects physical description and clothing, vehicle description and plate number, and direction of travel. With smart phones so common, photos and video of the incident could prove invaluable."
Police say most of the break in occurred during the work day hours. The homes have most often been left unlocked.
"A very common statement from victims and neighbors is 'We never lock our doors.' So, please, make sure your homes and your vehicles are secured," Police wrote.
Pittsfield Firefighters Battle 2-Alarm Blaze on Daniels Ave.
A condominium building on Daniels Avenue suffered extensive damage after a fire on Monday night.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A two-alarm fire on Daniels Avenue late Monday night ripped through three-story building and left two firefighters reeling from heat exhaustion.
According to the report by Deputy Chief Bruce Kilmer, firefighters responded with five engines and a ladder truck to the 133 Daniels Ave. about 10:37 p.m. There was heavy fire showing on the front of the wood-frame building near the corner of Madison Avenue.
"Upon our arrival, aggressive attack with landlines by first arriving crews slowed the fire," wrote Kilmer.
There was no one in the building during the fire but three families were displaced and being aided by the Red Cross with temporary housing.
Two firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion and dehydration, one at the scene and the other after being transported to Berkshire Medical Center.
The building is considered a major loss because of fire, smoke and water damage. It sustained severe structural damage to the first floor that extended into the second floor and partway into the third floor. The building was insured.
The structure contained condominium units developed by Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation.
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