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Lanesborough's Foam House Burns Down

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
A fire completely destroyed the National Street home. At left as seen in a realty advertisement.

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The foam house on National Street  burned to the ground Thursday afternoon.

The seasonal home is somewhat of a local landmark. The foam created a rounded, bubble-like appearance which led many to dub it  "The Flintstone House."

According to Fire Chief Charlie Durfee, firefighters responded to the fully engulfed structure fire shortly after 2 p.m. on Thursday.

The house, a wooden structure encased in foam, was already mostly burnt and the firefighters launched a "surround and drown" attack to prevent the flames from damaging nearby properties.

"I was on Narragansett Street, came around the corner and saw this house fully involved and called in a structure fire," Durfee said. "It's the foam house at the bottom on National Street and was built right around 1972."

The foam fueled the fire and the focus was on protecting nearby properties, Durfee said. The flames were so hot that they dried up leaves wet from the rain and threatened to spread. Pieces of foam flew in the sky and littered nearby properties.

The electric was shut off after the wires caught fire.

Durfee said he immediately called in support from Cheshire and Pittsfield and attacked the fire from both National Street and from Imperial Street — which runs parallel — to put out the flames in about 45 minutes. County Ambulance responded on scene as well.

The building at 45 National St. is used seasonally and no one was there at the time. It is owned by Denise Barrierre of Rhode Island. The small structure had one bedroom and one bath and was about a 1,000 square feet in size.

It was built in the 1970s with foam with a focus on being energy efficient. There were no firefighters injured in the process of knocking down the flames during the heavy rain.

The cause is undetermined after a fire inspector arrived on the scene Thursday afternoon.

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Fire Destroys Unit in Pittsfield Retirement Community

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A residential unit in Salisbury Estates was heavily damaged by a two-alarm fire on Tuesday morning.

Deputy Chief Michael Polidoro said the roof blaze, which could be clearly seen from nearby streets, was called in 10:34 a.m. by a neighbor reporting smoke from the unit at 8 Baver Drive.

"On arrival, we had heavy smoke pushing out of the eaves of the building, from both ends of the gable," said Polidoro. "In the crawlspace above, we found heavy fire."

The deputy chief called in a double alarm because the potential for the fire to spread rapidly through the attic crawlspace that connects the units.

"We kept it contained to that particular unit ...  It's all wide open up there so it could have traveled the whole length," he said. "I needed the manpower and the equipment here to do that."

Firefighters on the scene searched the home to ensure it was vacant; Polidoro believed that only one person lived in the residence and that he or she had left earlier in the morning.

He roughly estimated the fire damage at $150,000 but could not say if the structure would have to be completely razed.

"There is heavy structural damage to the roof, it has a trussed roof which makes it more susceptible to fire ...  they collapse a lot quicker and it makes it very dangerous," said Polidoro.

Because of the roof damage, a upper wall was being removed to allow firefighters access to the building. "It's too dangerous to work underneath it because of the fire damage," he said. "It presented a collapse issue so it's easier to take the wall off."

At least three other units sustained smoke damage. The building and wire inspectors, as well as the department's fire investigation unit were at the scene.

Polidoro said there was no indication the blaze was suspicious, but "when no one is home [when a fire starts] we like to do a thorough investigation to determine cause."

One firefighter incurred minor injuries in what the deputy chief described as "slips, trips and falls" that happen in these situations.

Salisbury Estates is a retirement community offering independent and assisted living for adults age 55 and older, operated as a subsidiary of Berkshire Health Systems with Kimball Farms.

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Vermont Briefs: Mass. Man Arrested, Pedestrian Injured

Staff Reports

Pownal Pedestrian Clipped by Minivan

POWNAL, Vt. — A man walking along Route 7 on Sunday evening was clipped by a minvan but was not seriously injured.

Ronald Martin was walking along the northbound shoulder at about 5 p.m. when he was struck by the passenger side mirror of a
passing vehicle, according to the police report.

The 2003 Ford Windstar was operated by Jeanna Brown of Pownal who was tending to Martin as State Police arrived. Martin was transported to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center to be evaluated and treated for his injuries which did not appear to be serious. They appeared to be bumps and bruises to the hands, stomach area and legs. The van's mirror was broken off.
 
No charges were filed in this incident.

North Adams Man Arrested on Warrant in Vermont

WINDHAM, Vt. — A North Adams, Mass., man was arrested on Monday for an outstanding warrant in Massachusetts after a traffic stop in Vermont.

Trooper Nicholas Arlington stopped a vehicle being driven by Kris Maytas, 59, on Windham Hill Road just before 4 p.m. because of a moving violation.

Maytas was arrested for operating on a criminally suspended license. His passenger, Andre Maytas, 60, was arrested for having an active arrest warrant from 2007 for writing bad checks. Andre Maytas was transported to Southern State Correctional Facility where he is being held on $1,500 bail. He is to appear in District Court in Bennington on Tuesday. Kris Maytas was cited and released. He is to appear in Windham District Court in Brattleboro on Dec. 10.

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Vermont Man Goes Missing During Journey to Texas

Staff Reports
READSBORO, Vt. — Police are looking for a local man who failed to arrive at his destination in Texas.
 
Family members contacted police on Thursday, Oct. 26, about Merton J. Powers, 76, of Main Street, who had been expected in Texas by that time. 
 
Powers was last seen near McKay's Auto in Brattleboro operating a silver 2006 Suzuki Forenza bearing Texas registration JNL863. He told the relative that he was heading to Texas, where he has family, according to Detective Sgt. Tyler Burgess.
 
Powers reportedly left the area between Oct. 3 and Oct. 5 and has not been in contact with family since. The concerned family member indicated that Powers reported medical issues that may cause him to become confused and disoriented. 
 
Powers is described as a white male, white hair, blue eyes, and approximately 5-foot-4 feet tall, 145 pounds and wears glasses. 
 
Anyone with any information on Powers is asked to contact the Shaftsbury Barracks at 802-442-5421.
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Superior Court Briefs: October 23 - October 24

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, October 23.
 
Daivon Henry, 21, of Bronx, N.Y. had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of assault and battery and one count of aggravated rape.
 
He was ordered to be held on $30,000 cash or $300,000 surety bail. The incident allegedly occurred in North Adams between April 30, 2013 and May 1, 2013 and involved a 40-year-old woman.
 
Richard Smith, 23, of Bronx, N.Y. had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of assault and battery and single counts of aggravated assault and battery and aggravate rape.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $40,000 cash or $400,000 surety bail. The incidents allegedly occurred in North Adams between April 30, 2013 and May 6, 2013 and involved two women, both 40 years old.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, October 24.
 
Joseph Pini, 36, of North Adams pleaded guilty to 12 counts of breaking and entering the daytime, 10 counts of larceny over $250, two counts of trespassing, two counts of larceny from a building, two counts of malicious destruction of personal property and single counts of breaking and entering in the daytime, possession of burglarious tools, receiving stolen property and common and notorious thief.
 
He was given a two and a half year suspended sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction on all charges except the two counts of trespassing. He was given 30 day suspended sentences on those charges. He was also placed on probation and ordered to stay away from Williams College.
 
The charges stem from a  series of break ins in Williamstown and North Adams between February 24, 2012 and March 9, 2012.
 
Donald Mayotte, 48, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of operating under the influence of alcohol - his fifth offense - failure to stop for a stop sign and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license.
 
He was ordered to serve two and a half to five years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the charge of operating under the influence of alcohol. He was given a concurrent sentence on the suspended license charge and the other charge was placed on file.
 
The charges stem from an incident in Pittsfield on September 11, 2012.
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News Headlines
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North Adams Airport Welcomes Drone Committee
Brayton School Holds First Memorial Day Celebration
Berkshire Community College Students Inducted Into National Honor Society
United Way Funds MCLA Writing Camp Scholarships
Trade Out Old Woodstove With Help from Massachusetts Program

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Emergency: 911
Adams 413-743-1212
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