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Great Barrington Rescuers Locate Missing 13-Year-Old Boy

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — A 13-year-old special needs child who went missing early Thursday afternoon during a hike was located shortly before 7 p.m.

Police Chief William Walsh and Fire Chief Charles Burger said more than 75 rescuers took part in the search that successfully located the child.

Rescuers responded at 12:15 p.m. to Fountain Pond State Park, a 250-acre park bisected by U.S. Route 7, for a report of a missing hiker. Upon arrival, officials were told that the boy became separated from his group during a hike and could not be located.

Firefighters began a search of approximately 3 miles of trails, but were unable to locate him.

Multiple jurisdictions were summonsed to conduct a thorough search of the area, including:

• Great Barrington Police and Fire Crews

• Great Barrington Police K-9

• K-9 units from Pittsfield and Williamstown

• The Berkshire County Sheriff's Office Dive Team and Mobile Communications Vehicle

• The Massachusetts State Police Airwing, State Police Search and Emergency Response Team

• Berkshire County Mountain Search and Rescue Team

• Massachusetts Environmental Police

• The Sheffield Fire Department

• The Stockbridge Fire Department and Stockbridge Fire Boat

Crews deployed over a wide area. Thankfully, the boy was found shortly before 7 p.m. at the top of a ridge well off the trails. He was found unharmed and in good health. Rescuers reunited him with his parents.

"This was a tremendous team effort that involved dozens of rescuers from many of our neighboring and partner agencies. I am very pleased that so many resources could muster in a short time, resulting in the successful rescue of this young boy," Walsh said.

"Mutual aid is a force multiplier that allows Berkshire County emergency services to greatly increase our effectiveness in times of need. The system showed its value today, and a child was reunited with his family," said Burger.

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Hairpin Turn Collision Sends Two to Hospital

Staff Reports
iBerkshires
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — A two-car collision at the curve of the Hairpin Turn sent the drivers to the emergency room.
 
Police Chief Michael Williams said the injuries appeared non-life-threatening but both individuals were taken by ambulance to the emergency facility at Berkshire Medical Center's North Adams campus. 
 
The accident occurred shortly after 3:30 and the scene was cleared at 4:08 p.m. It initially was reported as a head-on crash involving three people. 
 
A gray Toyota Corolla heading east apparently took the V-shaped corner too wide and too fast and collided with a black Chevy Impala heading west. The Toyota's front end hit the Chevy's driver's side door, close to the yellow line, Williams said. 
 
The Toyota was travelling higher than the posted speed of 15 mph but not at a high speed, he said. 
 
The airbags deployed in both vehicles and the drivers were only passengers. The Toyota suffered heavy damage on the driver's side front end and the Chevy's driver's side door was buckled. They were towed from the scene by Mohawk Auto and Dean's Quality Auto. 
 
The sharp curve was reduced to one lane traffic for the half hour or so responders were at the scene. Clarksburg Police were assisted by North Adams Police and state police. Clarksburg Fire Company also responded as did North Adams Ambulance Service. 
 
The accident was still under investigation.
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Two Juveniles Arrested in Relation to Sullivan School Arson

Staff Reports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Police have arrested two juveniles related to the fires set inside Sullivan School on Friday night. 
 
Police Director Michael Cozzaglio said the two juveniles were arrested on Monday afternoon but have not yet been arraigned. Their names are being withheld because of their ages. 
 
"These fires were intentionally set," Cozzaglio said. "It was pretty serious stuff and we wanted to resolve this as quickly as possible."
 
He said no further information could be released at this time. 
 
Firefighters were called to the vacant Sullivan School at about 8:12 p.m. on Friday and spent nearly two hours searching the multi-level school in heavy smoke and dousing a number of fires.
 
All off-duty firefighters were called in because of the amount of manpower needed to contain the building. Fire Director Stephen Meranti on Friday night had initially said three fires had been discovered but later updated that to multiple fires on more than one level. 
 
There were four fire extinguishers lined up at the front of the building when firefighters arrived.
 
The 51,000 square foot building has been empty for more than a year since the opening of Colegrove Park Elementary School but was being used for storage. It also still contains a lot of school materials and furnishings that were left behind. It was recently listed for sale by the city.
 
Cozzaglio said the investigation was lead by Officer Brad Vivori with assistance from the state police Arson Unit and other North Adams officers and investigative agencies. 
 
"It really was a team effort. Everyone's pitched in with this," he said, adding that officers pushed to find the suspects behind the fires both because of the seriousness of the crime and to "give our citizens peace of mind."
 
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Pittsfield Man Arrested For Armed Robbery Early Monday Morning

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A city man was arrested for armed robbery early Monday morning.
 
Police say officers responded to the Stop & Shop parking lot on Merrill Road shortly after midnight for the report. An employee of a local business arrived to make a night drop at Citizens Bank when Benjamin Robertson, 21, allegedly brandished a gun and demanded the money bag. 
 
Robertson then allegedly took off running through Coltsville and Police K9 Rango began tracking the suspect. Robertson was allegedly found with a "realistic looking BB gun" and the moneybag hiding on the property of a Crane Avenue business. 
 
Robertson was arrested and charged with armed and masked robbery and arraigned in Central Berkshire District Court on Monday. Massachusetts State Police also responded and assisted Pittsfield officers.
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Multiple Fires Set in North Adams School

Staff Reports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Multiple fires were apparently deliberately set throughout Sullivan School on Friday night. 
 
"There was more than one fire on more than one level," Fire Director Stephen Meranti said late Friday after firefighter has spent some two hours tracking down the blazes and ventilating the multilevel elementary school.
 
The state fire marshal was called to investigate and state police were also at the scene. Meranti said nothing was being ruled out. However, he was sure it was not electrical — the department had been responding to a number of calls related to alarms and wires after heavy rains blew through in the afternoon.
 
Mayor Richard Alcombright, who was at the scene for a time, said he would be awaiting the results of the investigation by the state fire marshal and the city's police force, and will assess the damage.
 
The call came in shortly after 8 p.m. of smoke on the roof of the school, which is tucked away off Kemp Avenue. That was confirmed, according to scanner reports, by a member of the Stamford, Vt., Fire Department. 
 
Heavy smoke could be seen through the windows of the lobby. When the doors were opened and the windows in the cafetorium smashed, dark smoke billowed out of the building about 8:30. 
 
No flames could be seen from the outside but firefighters found and doused fires as they searched the interior of the vacant building. 
 
"It's very manpower intensive, it's not a very big fire but because of the size of the building and trying to search the entire building, and try to extinguish the fires as they went along. it was a pretty involved operation," Meranti said.
 
Firefighters used three thermal imagers — one man holding and others on the team following — to track down the fires in the smoke-filled building. 
 
The four-story masonry building, constructed in the mid-1960s as East School to answer the city's baby boom, has been empty for nearly two years since the opening of Colegrove Park Elementary School. The $51,000-square-foot structure is for sale but has been used for storage by the School Department. 
 
The School Department has been securing the building and there has been a number of acts of vandalism in breaking windows. Those are have been boarded up but Meranti said there were a couple of spots on Friday night that someone could have gotten into the building. 
 
There were also four fire extinguishers lined up on the left pole of the lobby portico. Those were there when firefighters arrived and Meranti said it is not known who left them. 
 
The fire director said some of the materials still inside the school were burning in the fires. The largest was in the cafetorium in the front of the building where stacks of boxed up ceiling tiles were stored by the stage. 
 
He said there was a lot of smoke damage in the building and that the department was still forcing smoke for affected areas. A lot of the damage, particularly in the cafetorium, was to the materials being stored there. 
 
Once the extent of the situation was realized, all off-duty firefighters were called in and Adams Fire Department covered the city's station. 
 
North Adams Ambulance Service provided water and supplies; Clarksburg sent a truck to fill air bottles.
 
"We went through a lot of bottles because there's a lot of areas to cover," Meranti said. 
 
He said firefighters would be at the building for the rest of the night. It was not clear when more information would be available. 
 
"This is an active investigation," he said. 
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