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Adams Woman Dies in Fire Caused by Candle

By Jack Guerino
iBerkshires Staff
Adams and Cheshire firefighters responded to a reported structure fire on West Street in Adams on Wednesday night.

ADAMS, Mass. — The fire on West Street on Wednesday evening claimed the life of an 88-year-old woman.

Eunice St. Hilaire was killed in the blaze that was started by a candle on a nightstand in her first-floor bedroom.

In a statement, State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan said, "remnants of a candle were found in the area of origin and all other possible causes were ruled out."

St. Hilaire reported lived alone in the single-family home. The Fire Department was notified of the fire by a life-alert type system that included a connection to a smoke alarm.

"This is the second fatal fire in the last two weeks caused by a candle," Coan said. "I would encourage people to switch to battery-operated candles especially in homes with young children, people with disabilities, or pets."

According to the Coan's office, there were 135 candle fires in Massachusetts in 2013 that caused two civilian deaths, 25 civilian injuries, six firefighter injuries and an estimated dollar loss of $4.3 million in damages.

"On behalf of the citizens of Adams and the members of the Fire Department, I offer my deepest condolences to the family. Fire is a terrible way to lose a loved one," said Adams Fire Chief Paul Goyette in a statement.

He added, "We had to dig out the nearest hydrant but had sufficient water from the engine until the hydrant connection was made. If it had been a larger fire, digging out the hydrant might have caused a delay at a time when seconds count. If you are able to adopt a hydrant, the Fire Department and your neighbors would be grateful for your assistance."

West Street is in a heavily settled neighborhood, near the town's center. Witnesses saw St. Hilaire being removed from her home on a stretcher; she was taken to the Northern Berkshire Campus of Berkshire Medical Center.

The fire was jointly investigated by the Adams Fire Department, the Adams Police Department and State Police assigned to both the Office of the State Fire Marshal and to the office of Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless. Assistance was received from an electrical expert, the Code Compliance Unit of the Department of Fire Services' Division of Fire Safety and State Police Crime Scene Services.

The statement from Coan's office was also sent on behalf of Capeless, Goyette and Adams Police Chief Richard Tarsa Jr.
 


 

Adams Fire Extinguished; Resident Taken To Hospital

Original post at 9:13 p.m., Feb. 18, 2015
ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters were able to quickly knock down a West Street fire  on Wednesday night.

The one resident in the home was transported to the Northern Berkshire campus of Berkshire Medical Center in North Adams. The individual's condition and identity was not available.

Fire Chief Paul Goyette said the department responded to reports of sounding fire alarms and smoke in the air at about 7 p.m.. He said the fire started in a bedroom in the 5 West St. building, and firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze swiftly.

"Knockdown was not too bad. Our crews made an entry without aid of a hose line," Goyette said. "We did an initial search and found nothing and then backed out, got a hose line, and we had a visible fire and we knocked the fire down."

Police, Cheshire Fire Department and North Adams and Adams ambulance services responded. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the state fire marshal.

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Superior Court Briefs: Feb. 10

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, February 10.
 
Blary Sanchez, 21, of Lee had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on five counts of aggravated indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14 and a single count of intimidation of a witness.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. Sanchez is accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old female while employed at Hillcrest Educational Center. The incidents are alleged to have occurred in Lenox between October 21, 2013 and August 13, 2014.
 
Robert Scutt Jr., 25, of North Adams had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws to wit: possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, and possession of cocaine.
 
He was release on personal recognizance. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in North Adams on November 13, 2014.
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Police Investigating Death of Wanted Adams Man

Staff Reports
Police blocked Cherry Street on Friday evening during the investigation of a possible suicide when police where searching for a wanted suspect.

ADAMS, Mass. — A local man with outstanding warrants took his own life Friday night after police entered his home.  

Michael C. Jimenez, 27, of 7 Cherry St. apparently shot himself at about 9 p.m.

A statement released by the Berkshire district attorney's office at about 3 a.m. Saturday said members of the state police Community Action Team had learned that Jimenez was in the Cherry Street home.

Jimenez had outstanding arrest warrants from Hampden Superior Court and Springfield District Court. The statement did not detail the nature of the warrants.

"Troopers were admitted to a residence at 7 Cherry Street and after an inquiry about the whereabouts of the suspect heard a single gunshot. Upon a cautious approach to the second floor, troopers discovered the suspect, deceased," according to the district attorney's office.

No further details were released.

Scanner reports at the time indicated an "active shooter" on Cherry Street and reports of gunshots, including officers being shot at.

"Police were yelling to get back in the house, that guns were drawn," said Erika Brown, who lives two houses up from scene. She added, "it was something you'd see on TV like 'The First 48.'"

There was a heavy police presence at the scene for most of the evening. Adams Police and state police were at the scene, a single-family home near the top of the steep, narrow street. Brown said she saw a young child carried out of the house by police and taken from the scene by ambulance.

It was not clear who else lived in the house or if Jimenez was the owner.

The special response team from Pittsfield had been called but that request was canceled, according to scanner reports.

Both ends of Cherry Street were blocked off and police tape strung across the home's driveway.

State Police Ballistics and Crime Scene Services Sections were assisting in the investigation. Adams Ambulance Service also had personnel at the scene.

Brown, who moved to the neighborhood in November, described it as quiet.

"You barely see anyone around here, no noise, very peaceful," she said. "[Jimenez] came over while my boyfriend was shoveling three days ago and invited us to come down his house sometime."

The street was not reopened until about 1 a.m. but investigators were still inside the house.

The incident remains under investigation.

Complete write-thru and updated information from original posts.

 

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Police Say Peru Man's Death Not Suspicious

WINDSOR, Mass. — The body of a Peru man was discovered in Windsor on Friday morning.

Investigators say the body of 62-year-old Thomas Keeley of East Windsor Road was found off River Road in Windsor about 8 a.m. Friday.

Police say the death does not appear to be suspicious at this time. The investigation is being conducted by state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office.

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Superior Court Briefs: Feb. 4 - Feb. 5

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, February 4.
 
Richard Quintero, 41, of Dalton was found guilty by a jury of a single count of rape.
 
He was sentenced to serve five to seven and a half years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. 
 
Quintero raped a 48-year-old woman in Lanesborough on October 14, 2012.
 
Gerald Ramos, 61, of Bronx, N.Y. pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent three to five years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction.     
 
The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on May 8, 2013.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, February 5.
 
Roberto Mazzeo, 36, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of possession of a large capacity feeding device and single counts of trafficking in marijuana, possession of psilocybil mushrooms with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, improper storage of a firearm, and receiving stolen property over $250.
 
He was released on $10,000 bail. The charges stem from an incident at Mazzeo's home on November 25, 2014.
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