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Investigators Say Thanksgiving Fire In Lanesborough Set By Youth

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. - Investigators have found that the Thanksgiving Eve fire on Alice Avenue was lit by a youth.
 
State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan and Lanesborough Fire Chief Charles Durfee determined that fire was caused by the family's youth using a lighter to set cardboard on fire in the basement. The youth will be referred to a juvenile firesetting intervention program.
 
The structure fire took five fire departments to bring under control: Lanesborough, Dalton, Cheshire, New Ashford, and Hinsdale. No one was injured in the blaze but it did cause $100,000 worth of damage to the home.
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Pittsfield Investigating Four Fires; One Individual Detained

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters spent Tuesday morning fighting a series of what appears to have been intentionally lit fires in the Morningside neighborhood.
 
Deputy Chief Daniel Garner released a report saying four fires were started in the early hours and that an individual has been detained by police.
 
The morning started with Engine 2 responding to a fire inside of the apartment building at 40 Perrine Ave. at about 2:30 and was quickly followed by two outside rubbish fires on the nearby Plunkett Street and a fully involved vehicle fire on Kellogg Street.
 
"All fires were brought under control quickly and there were no injuries," Garner wrote.
 
The first fire was in a common hallway of Perrine and Engine 2 "made quick work and ensured extinguishment." Engine 3 was subsequently dispatched to 76 Plunkett St. for an outside fire.
 
"They found household rubbish ablaze in front of the residence. Subsequently, they found a similar fire in front of 72 Plunkett as well," Garner wrote.
 
"An area search found a fully involved motor vehicle fire in close proximity to the residence of 41/43 Kellogg Street."
 
All of the engines, Tower 1, and a command vehicle responded to the vehicle fire. Garner also reports that state and Pittsfield police have detained an individual in connection to the fires.
 
Pittsfield Police say Jeffrey Benoit, 26, of Hinsdale was arrested and will be arraigned in district court Tuesday.
 
The Fire Department and the Police Department are both investigating the incidents.
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Lanesborough Fire Extinguishes Second Blaze In Five Days

Staff Reports
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Firefighters extinguished the second fire in the last five days Monday morning.
 
Fire Chief Charlie Durfee said a short in a phone charger at 6:30 a.m. led to a fire in one of the cabins at the Lanesborough Country Inn. Upon arrival, Durfee found heavy smoke coming from the cabin and a small fire in the room. 
 
"No one was in the cabin at the time. No one was hurt," Durfee said.
 
The chief estimates $15,000 worth of damage was caused by the blaze. 
 
The fire is the second one in five days. On Wednesday, a cellar fire on Alice Avenue caused $100,000 worth of damage. In fighting that fire, Dalton, Cheshire, New Ashford and Hinsdale were all called in for mutual aid. 
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Lanesborough Fire Snuffs Out Cellar Fire On Thanksgiving Eve

Staff Reports
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Firefighters snuffed out a cellar fire on Thanksgiving eve.
 
According to Fire Chief Charlie Durfee, just before 7 p.m. on a Wednesday the department responded to a working house fire at 14 Alice Avenue. Dalton and Cheshire Fire Departments were called to the scene and New Ashford Fire Department covered the station. Hinsdale later brought in an air truck to combat the blaze. The fire was eventually contained.
 
"I can't thank everyone enough for all of the hard work they give to the fire department," Durfee said.
 
Durfee said no one was hurt during the fire which caused an estimated $100,000 worth of damage. The state Fire Marshal's office was called in to investigate the cause, which said to have been "unintentional." 
 
"We are still waiting to talk with the owner of the house. We talked to the occupant, who was home when the fire started," Durfee said of the investigation. 
 
According to land records, the home is owned by Roger Bristol.
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Two-Car Accident at Clarksburg Intersection

Staff Reports
iBerkshires

CLARKSBURG, Mass. — Four people escaped serious injury Thursday after another accident at the dangerous intersection at Route 8 (River Road) and Henderson Road.

The crash occurred shortly after 11 a.m. when a northbound late model Ford sport utility vehicle collided with a red Chevrolet pickup truck exiting from Henderson Road.

There were three people in the Ford, the driver, another adult and a child; the pickup contained only the driver. No one was injured.

According to Police Chief Michael Williams, the driver of the pickup had stopped at the stop sign and had checked for traffic before crossing Route 8 toward Middle Road.

The Ford was unable to stop in time and clipped the rear of th3 pickup on the driver's side. Williams said there was no indication that speed was a factor in the crash, but rather the configuration of the intersection, which has seen a number of accidents.
 
Drivers exiting from Henderson Road have a difficult time seeing northbound traffic because of the highway's higher grade to the south and a banking that obstructs the view. Motorists heading north often can't see any traffic until they begin the descent a few hundred feet from the intersection.

The town has complained to the state Department of Transportation a number of times about the intersection, which has had at least one fatal in recent years.

Williams said it appeared the driver of the Ford, from Lanesborough, was unfamiliar with the roadway and was doing at or about the 45 mph speed limit as she approached the intersection. She apparently hit her brakes, because he estimated the impact at about 20 mph.

No one was cited in the accident.

The Ford sustained damage to its front end and the driver's side front fender; it was towed from the scene by Cariddi Auto;  the pickup, which sustained damage to the rear of its bed, was able to drive away.

Traffic was slowed but not detoured; Clarksburg Fire Department and North Adams Ambulance responded, state police assisted with traffic.

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