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North Adams Fire Battles Eagle Street Blaze

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff

Flames were pouring out of the second floor of the building. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A Victorian on Eagle Street sustained extensive damage after it broke out in flames on Saturday night.
 
The second floor of the large circa-1900 home at 243 Eagle was in flames when the first emergency responders arrived at the scene.
 
"We come around the corner and it was very obvious we were going to need the entire department," said Lt. Michael Sherman, who responded with C group, the shift on duty. An all-call was made to bring in off-duty firefighters. 
 
The owner, listed as Sandra Thomas, made a 911 call, said Lt. John Paciorek. She was able to exit the building and get her pets, a dog and two cats, out of the house as well.
 
Thomas recalled seeing smoke and fire in the house as she made her way out with the last cat. 
 
"There was fire showing on the second floor of the building ... they advanced hose lines to the second floor to extinguish it," said Paciorek. "At the same time, there was fire showing on the first floor in the back and that was extinguished as well."
 
As the fire was contained in the front of the building, flames burst through a back window on the first floor in the back along Liberty Street. It took at least an hour to bring the blaze under control.
 
Paciorek said it wasn't clear yet what the path of the fire was or what caused it. The blaze is still under investigation and the state fire marshal's office has been contacted.
 
However, he said, "it is not deemed suspicious at this time."
 
The call came in at 9:53 p.m. and the fire wasn't fully out until after 11 p.m. Eagle Street was blocked by emergency equipment from Hall Street to the fork at Franklin Street. Emergency vehicles lined Eagle Street and the Fire Department's ladder truck was situated on Liberty Street.
 
North Adams Ambulance Service responded as did the city's Wire & Alarm Department. Mayor Richard Alcombright also visited the scene.
 
Firefighters began cleaning up the scene around midnight and planned to keep a fire watch through the night.
 
"It's a good group of guys. They knew the job. they got in there and got the brunt of the fire down," Sherman said. "Then going in and getting to the hot spots. ... 
 
"The guys on the Fire Department did their job and did it well." 
 
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Great Barrington Fire Douses Blaze at Mill Complex


Embers from burning brush caused the roof of the structure to catch fire.
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Great Barrington Fire Department extinguished a fire at an abandoned mill building on Saturday afternoon, the second fire in a week caused by embers igniting during dry weather. 
 
Just after noon, the department was dispatched for a roof fire behind the Housatonic Fire Station (Great Barrington Station 2), according to Chief Charles Burger.
 
Crews quickly confirmed that the roof of the abandoned Power House Mill — a 200-foot by 100-foot masonry building with 50-foot ceilings that's part of the Monument Mills complex — was on fire. The building is located at 174 Front St.
 
Firefighters arrived on scene within minutes and began attacking the fire. The department's 100-foot tower ladder was needed to access the fire because of the height of the building.
 
The fire was quickly brought under control and contained to the roof of half the structure, and crews cleared the scene by 2:30 p.m. The Stockbridge Fire Department assisted on scene, the Lenox Fire Department sent a Rapid Intervention Team and the Sheffield Fire Department provided station coverage.
 
An investigation by the Fire Department indicated that the owner of the mill was burning brush about 75 feet from the building and the embers caught the building's roof on fire.
 
Saturday's fire is the second that occurred in Great Barrington this week. At noon on Monday, April 10, firefighters responded to a porch fire at 18 Sumner St. It was contained to the porch and the house remained inhabitable. An investigation determined that the fire began from a cigarette disposed of in the mulch next to the porch.
 
"Is it extremely important that community members remember to properly dispose of smoking material and monitor brush fires, especially as we head into warmer, dryer weather," Burger said. "As we've seen this week, anything with embers can easily start a fire." 
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Police Investigating Shooting in Pittsfield

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A 17-year-old boy was shot Thursday evening.
 
Police say the new gunshot detection system, ShotSpotter, alerted officers to shots fired at the intersection of Wahconah and Canal Street at about 7:45 p.m. Patrols found the 17-year-old juvenile with a gunshot wound. The juvenile was transported to Berkshire Medical Center and treated for non-life threatening injuries.
 
Police are still investigating the shooting and are asking for anyone with information to contact them at 413-448-9705 or submit tips through the drug hotline, 413-448-9705. 
 
Authorities say there is no indication that the safety of the general public is at risk.
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Husband of Missing Clarksburg Woman Found Dead

Staff Reports
iBerkshires Staff

Chad Reidy and Jo Ringer in happier times in this photo from Reid's Facebook page. Ringer disappeared more than a month ago. 
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The husband of a missing Clarksburg woman was found dead inside his garage on Friday. 
 
Charles M. "Chad" Reidy, 42, of 61 Hall's Ground was discovered in his garage by police officers conducing a well-being check at the request of his family. 
 
Based on the circumstances discovered at the scene, investigators believe Reidy took his own life.
 
Reidy's wife, Joanne Ringer, has been missing since March 2. She was expected to begin a new job that evening driving a cab in Easthampton but never arrived. Her car, a green 2001 Volkswagen Jetta sedan, was found abandoned in Easthampton, more than an hour away from her home. 
 
Family and friends have been posting flyers and keeping up a Facebook page, "Bring Jo Ringer Home," in hopes someone can provide information on her disappearance. 
 
Reidy and Ringer were married this past December and Reidy purchased the home last October.
 
His death and her disappearance are being investigated by state police detectives assigned to the Berkshire district attorney's office, the State Police Crime Scene Services section and the Berkshire Sheriff's Department with the assistance of the Clarksburg, North Adams and Easthampton police departments.
 
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Superior Court Briefs: March 31 - April 5

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Friday, March 31.
 
Jason Pennell, 28, of Holyoke had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute - his second offense - and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Hampden County House of Correction on $5,000 bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant in Williamstown on January 18, 2017. 
 
Terry Martizna, 26, of Lanesborough pleaded guilty to single counts of illegal possession of a large capacity feeding device, armed career felon, illegal possession of a firearm, and possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card.
 
He was ordered to serve three and a half to four and a half years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the illegal possession of a large capacity feeding device, armed career felon, and illegal possession of a firearm. He was given concurrent time at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the ammunition charge. 
 
The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on December 12, 2016. A single count of illegal possession of a loaded firearm was dismissed by the state.
 
Gregory Frye, 45, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of illegal possession of a firearm - his second offense - illegal possession of a loaded firearm, and armed career felon.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on $50,000 cash or $500,000 surety bail. Frye allegedly was in possession of a firearm when he was arrested in Williamstown on January 9, 2017 on a parole violation.
 
James Scace, 48, of Dalton was found guilty on four counts of assault and batter, and a single count of disturbing the peace.
 
He was ordered to serve two years of probation on three assault and battery charges and the disturbing the peace charge. He was given a one-year suspended sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the remaining assault and battery charge.
 
Scace assaulted four youths - ages 18,16,16, and 14, - in Dalton on October 24, 2015. He was found not guilty on two counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and a single count of intimidation of a witness.
 
Cases heard before Judge Daniel ford on Wednesday, April 5.
 
Devyn Banister, 23, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of motor vehicle homicide while under the influence of drugs and  negligently operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. 
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $10,000 bail. Banister is accused of operating a motor vehicle on West Housatonic Street in Pittsfield on December 8, 2016 when it struck Arthur Meyrick, 74. Meyrick died on January 28, 2017 from the injuries. 
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