Adams Firefighters Battle Apartment Building Blaze
ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters from Adams and Cheshire were able to contain a major structure fire on the thickly settled Maple Street early Thursday morning.
No one was injured in the fire but two dogs were thought to be still inside.
Fire Chief John Pansecchi said he was the first on the scene at 60 Maple St. The blaze was first reported a little after midnight.
"We had heavy fire on the second floor, heavy smoke showing," he said. "There was heavy heat right from the get-go."
Firefighters took up a defensive position and called in Cheshire Fire Department for mutual aid. Clarksburg Fire Department also sent a truck to cover the Adams station.
Pansecchi said the fire was believed to have ignited in a kitchen on the second then worked its way into the attic and through the roof.
The rear upper porch of the double-decker was engulfed in flames by 12:30 a.m. and about an hour later, the roof had burned through. One of the two brick chimneys collapsed, slightly damaging a nearby house. As the blaze was brought under control, thick smoke filled the air.
Firefighters attacked with hoses on the rear and side of the building and used the ladder truck to reach the upper floors. Pansecchi said one hydrant ran out of water and a second one had to be opened. There were some issues in getting the trucks under some low hanging electrical wires that crossed the street to 60 Maple an adjacent house but firefighters were able to maneuver around them.
It was not clear how many people were living in the building, which may have four apartments. Pansecchi said the first floor was occupied and those tenants were able to get out. There was no one in the upper floors at the time of the fire.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Pansecchi said the state fire marshal was called and would be at the scene later Thursday morning.
The building dates to 1900 and is listed as being owned by MMD Properties LLC. It was most recently sold in 2013.
Adams Ambulance and North Adams Ambulance services set up a rehab tent with water and coffee for the tired firefighters. Pansecchi called them a godsend and said two firefighters were checked out by the emergency medical technicians as a precaution.
"The guys did a great job," the fire chief said. "They worked their butts off."
Adams Businessman Arraigned in Pedestrian Death
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — David I. Sookey Jr., 61, of Adams, had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on Wednesday morning in Northern Berkshire District Court.
Sookey was arraigned on single counts of leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident and of misleading, impeding and obstructing a police investigation.
He is accused of hitting 85-year-old Theresa Marby with his vehicle on Dean Street on Friday morning and leaving the scene. Marby was found in the road and pronounced dead at Berkshire Medical Center in North Adams.
According to the report filed by Adams Police Officer Gregory Charon, Sookey was backing out of his parking spot at the Oasis Liquor Store onto Dean Street at about 9:25 a.m. when his 2016 Jeep Wrangler struck Marby and knocked her down.
Police state that instead of stopping, Sookey shifted into drive, drove over her and continued southwest on Dean Street. He did not report the accident and, according to police, took "a series of systematic steps" to conceal the crime and mislead investagators.
Investigators say they confirmed this series of events after viewing security footage from a camera at Greylock Apartments that was pointed toward the scene of the incident. A gray Jeep Wrangler can be seen backing out of its parking spot as Marby, walking in the street behind it, begins to raise her hands.
Sookey told officers that he always parks on Dean Street next to the store's dumpster and that no one had used his vehicle that day. Sookey is a co-owner of Oasis, which is located at the corner of Spring and Dean streets. Marby resided on Spring Street.
Police found Marby, 85, lying in a pool of blood in the northbound lane of Dean Street. Witnesses at the scene told police they had found Marby in the road and called 911 but did not see a vehicle or the incident. Richard Sookey, David Sookey's brother and co-owner of the liquor store, told police he was inside the store and did not see anything, pointing them toward a customer who had walked out of the store and seen Marby in the road. The store does not have security cameras outside, he told police.
Marby was found to have significant head and chest trauma that doctors said was inconsistent with a fall, according to the police report.
Sookey was interviewed on Friday afternoon and told police he had left the store at 9:15 a.m. to go to Pittsfield to get a haircut and believed he may have hit a pothole on leaving. He said in his interview that he never saw Marby and had looked in his rearview mirror after believing he'd hit the pothole. He told police that his brother had texted him about the incident and he wondered if he had caused it. He indicated to police that he may have been in shock or denial, according to the report.
According to the report, he deleted all of his text messages and then washed his Jeep off at the local carwash on Friday, which police described as "a direct attempt" to destroy trace evidence after he knew he could have caused the fatality.
"Although investigators believe that Sookey's explanation of 'hitting a pothole' is implausible, Sookey admitted that at some point, approximately 1-2 hours after learning what happened, that he realized he did cause the accident and did not come forward to speak with investigators who were outside of his business all day," according to the report.
Marby was a longtime employee at McDonald's in Adams and an officer and longtime member of Burnette-Bednarz Post 1995, Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary.
Sookey was released on $25,000 bail on condition he not operate a motor vehicle while the case is being processed. He is scheduled for a pre-trail hearing on March 19.
Theresa Marby at a recent Memorial Day ceremony.
Original posting at 4:50 p.m., Feb. 20, 2018: ADAMS, Mass. — A longtime Adams resident has been arrested in Friday's hit-and-run death of 85-year-old Theresa Marby.
Police arrested David I. Sookey Jr., 61, of East Road on Tuesday afternoon. He is charged with single counts of leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident and of misleading, impeding and obstructing a police investigation. Sookey was released on personal recognizance and will be arraigned on those charges in Northern Berkshire District Court on Wednesday morning.
Marby was discovered laying in the middle of Dean Street mid-morning on Friday and taken to Berkshire Medical Center in North Adams, where she was pronounced dead. Preliminary results of an autopsy conducted Sunday on Marby indicated she died from blunt force trauma. Dr. Robert Welton, an associate medical examiner for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, conducted the autopsy in Holyoke.
Sookey is a well-known local businessman and an owner of the Oasis Liquor Store. Marby, who lived on Spring Street not far from where she was found, was also well known in the community and had been an officer in the local VFW Auxiliary.
The investigation is being conducted by members of the Adams Police Department, State Police Detectives assigned to the District Attorney's Office and the State Police Crime Scene Services Section.
Adams Pedestrian Killed in Hit-and-Run
ADAMS, Mass. — A senior citizen was apparently struck and killed by a motor vehicle Friday morning on Dean Street.
Police say 85-year-old Theresa Marby of 43 Spring St. was found lying in the middle of the road at about 9:30 a.m. and was taken to Berkshire Medical Center in North Adams, where she was pronounced dead.
Investigators believe that Marby was the victim of a hit-and-run. An autopsy to determine the cause of death will be performed Sunday at office of the medical examiner in Holyoke.
Marby was a longtime member of the VFW Auxiliary in Adams and frequently attended Memorial Day services.
Anyone who may have information related to this incident is asked to call the Adams Police Department at 413-743-1212 or the state police detectives at 413-499-1112.
The investigation is being conducted by members of the Adams Police Department, state police detectives assigned to the Berkshire district attorney's office and the state police Crime Scene Services Section.
Conn. Police Arrest Clarksburg Man Wanted in Adams Shooting
ADAMS, Mass. — A Clarksburg man who is wanted in connection with last Wednesday's shooting in Adams has been arrested in Connecticut on unrelated charges while at least two other men are still being sought.
Gage M. Sherman, 20, of McLagen Drive, was arrested in Bristol, Conn., this past weekend for conspiracy to commit murder related to a shooting in Bristol on Friday.
A warrant seeking his return to Massachusetts to answer to charges in the Adams shooting has been lodged with Connecticut authorities, according the district attorney's office.
The shooting at 30 North Summer St. last Wednesday
severely injured one man who was taken to Berkshire Medical Center, where he underwent surgery and remains hospitalized. Police have declined to confirm the victim's name or release much information regarding the incident.
Sherman will be arraigned on a charge of unarmed robbery when he is returned to Massachusetts, according to the DA's office. The investigation remains ongoing with the potential for further criminal charges being sought.
Investigators believe the shooting was an isolated incident and not a random act. Authorities are still searching for two other men both described as black -- one thin, standing 5-foot-6 with a possible neck tattoo and last seen wearing a red hooded windbreaker with a red baseball cap and the second with a medium to heavy build, standing 5-foot-7 with moderate facial hair, short curly black hair and last seen wearing black sweat pants and black fleece jacket.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the Adams Police Department at 413-743-1212 or state police detectives at 413-499-1112.
Sherman was arrested with Juan E. Ocasio, also 20 and from Massachusetts, after police responded to shots fired in front of a home on Pleasant View Avenue on Friday night in Briston. No one was reportedly injured in that shooting. Both men were being held on $500,000 bail.
Authorities Still Searching for Adams Shooter
ADAMS, Mass. — Authorities are still on the hunt for suspects in Wednesday's shooting that sent a local man to the hospital.
Investigators believe the shooting at North Summer Street was an isolated incident and not a random act and that neighbors in the area are not in any immediate danger.
The victim's name is still not being released but he remains hospitalized at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, where he underwent surgery for gunshot wounds.
Police are a looking for a light-skinned African-American man with facial hair who witnesses said fled the scene on foot.
The vague account led to the highly dramatic stop of a man with no involvement in the case not long after police arrived at the scene.
Police Chief Richard Tarsa on Friday said a man matching the description given by witnesses, including the wearing the similar clothing and colors, was seen driving by as police were searching the area around the 30 North Summer St. neighborhood on Wednesday. He was stopped after exiting the Racing Mart gas station on Columbia Street.
"The officers effected a motor vehicle stop, which is considered a high-risk stop because of the nature of the situation," Tarsa said. "We had a shooting and fleeing the scene, so a high-risk stop was conducted according to their training."
The man was removed from his car and handcuffed in the middle of Columbia Street at the intersection with Cook Street. Photos of the stop were posted on social media showing the man on his knees with his hands in the air but appear to have since been removed.
"The individual was removed from their car, handcuffed for his own protection and placed in a cruiser, which gave the officers time to determine if they were involved," Tarsa said. "In this situation, the operator of the vehicle, who was alone, was found not to be involved so he was told what was going on and why he was stopped and the officers apologized for the inconvenience."
The police chief pushed back on allegations that the stop was a case of racial profiling. Rather, it was the circumstances of looking for a likely armed suspect and seeing a person who generally matched the description, he said.
"As soon as they determined he was not involved, he was allowed to leave and, unfortunately, because of the situation you have to conduct the stop accordingly," he said. "Here it was a high risk so they had to order the operator out at gunpoint and they handled it accordingly.
"By no means was it a racial issue."
Tarsa said incident is still under investigation and "we are following several leads."
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