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Berkshire County Firefighters Battle Brush Fire In Lee
Staff Reports On: 05:44PM / Thursday April 19, 2012
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The staging area on Reservoir Road is just one of three where firefighters are attacking the fire.
LEE, Mass. — Firefighters from 19 fire departments and the state Department of Conservation  battled a massive brush fire near October Mountain State Forest on Thursday afternoon.

Fire Chief Alan B. Sparks said the fire had burned through more than 30 acres since being reported shortly after 1 p.m.

"I'm not going to say it's contained," said Sparks at one of the staging areas earlier in the afternoon. "I'm going to say some of it's contained."

The fire was reportedly contained around 7 p.m. with some departments ready to pack up and head home.

The fire began in the back yard of a Sharyn Drive property where someone was burning brush. The chief said the man had a permit to burn but lost control of the fire.

Staging areas had been set up at Sharyn Drive and Lander and Reservoir roads in an attempt to surround the fire. Sparks said it keeps jumping everytime the wind picks up.

Firefighters were using ATVs and hauling water in tankers to reach the flames. Adams Forest Wardens were among the North County departments at the scene. They had arrived one staging area and were awaiting instruction. Pittsfield, Tyringham and Richmond were also there.

There had been talk of using a Massachusetts National Guard helicopter to scoop water out of Laurel Lake to help douse the flames but it was not clear when and if that was going to occur.

Sparks said he didn't know how long firefighters would be on the scene.


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Structure Fire Off North Summer Street In Adams
Staff Reports On: 07:20PM / Tuesday April 17, 2012
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Adams firefighters were helped  by fire departments from Cheshire and Clarksburg.
Update: 9:47 p.m., minor rewrites, April 17, 2012.

ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters battled a blaze at 3 Baskin Lane that was reported shortly before 6 p.m. Clarksburg and Cheshire fire departments also responded.

Fire Chief Paul Goyette said the fire started in the first-floor apartment but the cause was not yet determined. It was called in around 6 p.m.

"We're on more of a defensive mode, which means we're working the fire mostly from the outside," Goyette, as firefighters contained the blaze at about 7:30 p.m. "We're slowly making our way back inside so we can go back on offensive."

Goyette said the fire was showing from the eaves of the apartment house when the Fire Department arrived. Firefighters initiated a two-prong attack in the first floor and on the outside but there were concerns for firefighters' safety because the roof was buckling.
By 7 p.m., the middle section of the roof had collapsed. The windy conditions, however, turned out to be beneficial by aiding in ventilation.

He said an older gentleman was assisted from the building before firefighters arrived and taken to the hospital. His name and condition were not yet known.

The building is currently uninhabitable and all utilities have been shut off. It was not clear how many occupants are affected by the fire. The property is listed in the Northern Berkshire Registry of Deeds as being owned by Mark A. Kurpiel.

No firefighters had been injured at publication time. Cheshire Fire Department responded with its rapid intervention team and Clarksburg responded with manpower. North Adams stood by at the station and North Adams Ambulance Service joined Adams Ambulance at the scene.

We were supposed to drill on Lime Street tonight but obviously that didn't happen," said Goyette. "This is what we were going to do ... we were going to do a structure fire."



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North Adams Responds To Two 2-Car Accidents
Staff Reports On: 04:21PM / Tuesday April 17, 2012
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Police and fire were busy Tuesday afternoon when two motor vehicle accidents occurred within minutes of each other.

The first occurred at 3:41 p.m. on Cherry Street when a gray 2008 Volkswagen Jetta driven by Jessenya J. Rodriguez of Meadow Street apparently rear-ended a green 1999 Toyota driven by Tuyet Nhi Nguyen, 20, of Parker Street. At least one person sustained injuries and the Jetta was towed by Dean's Towing.

The second fender-bender occurred at 3:50 p.m. on Union Street at the intersections of Gallup and Beaver streets. Traffic was detoured until the vehicles could be removed.

The collision occurred between a blue 2007 Hyundai Sonata owned by Brenda L. Crow of Francis Street and a 2001 green Honda Civic operated by Vanessa M. Hansen, 54, of Marlborough, Conn. Both vehicles were towed from the scene.

No further information was immediately available.

 
A two-car crash on Route 2, top and right, delayed traffic for a short time on Tuesday afternoon. Below, a fender-bender on Cherry Street



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Superior Court Briefs: April 11
Staff Reports On: 04:49PM / Friday April 13, 2012
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Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Wednesday, April 11.

Kevin Sadlow, 44, of Plainfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of xanax with intent to distribute, possession of ambien with intent to distribute and operating under the influence of drugs.

Sadlow was released on $5,000 cash or $50,000 surety bail. The charges stem from an incident in Adams on Feb. 11.


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Alleged Serial Arsonist Arrested In Great Barrington
By Andy McKeever On: 03:13PM / Friday April 06, 2012
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Chicopee man was arrested in Great Barrington Thursday night and charged with setting a series of fires in the county in recent years.

Stuart Zimbrowski, 54, is being charged with 15 counts of burning the land of another, four counts of burning a building, seven counts of larceny under $250, three counts of breaking and entering in the daytime and two counts of larceny from a building. On Friday he had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf in Central Berkshire District Court on the charges. Judge Rita Koenigs ordered that he be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail.

According to the state Fire Marshal Stephen Coan,  Zimbrowski set fire to a vacant apartment in Great Barrington on March 8, a barn in Sandisfield on Jan. 19, and the same Marlborough building two times — once on June 16, 2011 and again on October 17, 2011 — as well as 15 brush fires between April 30, 2009 and April 5, 2012.

The investigation was completed by the State Police, New York State Police and fire departments in Dalton, Egremont, Great Barrington, Lee, Lenox, New Marlborough, Sandisfield, Sheffield and Stockbridge.

"I want to commend the great investigative effort by so many fire and law enforcement agencies. This was a tremendous effort that has removed a serial arsonist from the community before he progressed from brush fires and vacant buildings to occupied ones,"Coan said in a press release. "Arson is not a victimless crime even when no one is hurt in a fire; the fear and anxiety communities feel in addition to the loss of property, significantly impacts the quality of life."

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News Headlines
Ski Season Gets Under Way
Adams-Cheshire First-Graders Find Success In New Reading Initiative
Mass MoCA's Festival Field Getting New Features
Guest Column: Keeping Your Pet Safe This Holiday
Thanksgiving Greetings
North Adams Church Welcomes New Pastor & Music Director
Lanesborough Outlines 250th Celebration Calendar
'Dumb and Dumber To': It Sure Is
Williamstown Chamber Executive Director Departing
Selectmen May Seek Peer Review of Dollar General Traffic Study
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