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Great Barrington Police Respond to Fatal Hunting Incident

Staff Reports
Update at 6:30 p.m. with identification and quote:
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — A 44-year-old Pittsfield man was killed on Saturday during what police say was a hunting accident. 
 
Christopher Puntin had been participating in a youth turkey hunt with two other adults and a juvenile.
 
According to Chief William Walsh, Police Officers Jonathan Finnerty and Kristopher Balestro, firefighter and EMTs responded about noon to a report of a hunting incident in a wooded area on Monument Valley Road and located the victim.
 
Puntin sustained a fatal gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was injured.
 
An initial police investigation suggests the incident was an accident. 
 
"This is a tragic situation for all involved," Chief William Walsh said. "I'd like to commend the efforts of all responders under the command of Sgt. Adam Carlotto and Sgt. Paul Storti on a very difficult call."
 
Walsh also praised the assistance police received Saturday from the Fire Department and the Southern Berkshire Ambulance Squad Saturday. 
 
This incident remains under investigation by the Massachusetts Environmental Police and State Police detectives assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney's Office and Great Barrington Police.
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Great Barrington Fire Department Responds to Chemical Spill at High School

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Great Barrington Fire Department responded toa chemical spill at Monument Mountain Regional High School on Thursday. 
 
Just after 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 23, the department responded to the 600 Stockbridge Road school after the spill was reported in one of the science labs.
 
Upon arrival, firefighters learned that approximately two liters of ammonium hydroxide, a solution that in high concentrations can aggravate the nose, throat and respiratory tract, was knocked over by a teacher who was working in the lab, said Chief Charles Burger.
 
The state Hazardous Materials Emergency Response team was called for assistance, and crews worked together to neutralize the solution and ventilate the building. Atmospheric and surface testing came back safe, and occupants were allowed to reenter the building. An environmental cleanup company will finish the remediation prior to the start of school next week.
 
At the time of the spill, only few people were in the building and were immediately evacuated. The teacher was exposed to the chemical solution. She was evaluated on scene by Southern Berkshire Ambulance and declined further medical treatment.
 
"Thankfully this was a very minor incident," Burger said. "We want to assure students, parents, faculty and community members that there is no health threat and the building is safe to occupy."
 
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Great Barrington Police Investigating Fatal Crash

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — A Housatonic woman was killed late Sunday morning in a head-on collision near 200 Maple Ave. 
 
Annemarie E. Bushka, 64, was pronounced dead at the scene from injuries incurred in the crash. 
 
Bushka's motor vehicle collided with one driven by Robert Bacigalupi, 68, who police say crossed the yellow line into Bushka's lane. 
 
Bacigalupi, of New York City, was charged with motor vehicle homicide and marked lanes violation. He was taken by ambulance to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield. His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening and will be issued a summons to appear in court at a later date.
 
The crash occurred at about 11 a.m. and Bushka and Bacigalupi were the only occupants in their vehicles. A portion of the road was closed while rescuers responded to the crash and while the vehicles were towed from the scene. All lanes were reopened once the scene was cleared.
 
The cause of the crash is under investigation by Great Barrington Police, with the assistance of the State Police.
 
Chief William Walsh Jr. asks that anyone who may have witnessed the crash call the Great Barrington Police at 413-528-0306.
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Great Barrington Firefighters Snuff Kitchen Blaze at Pizzeria


Fire damage was limited to areas on the first floor and a second-floor bathroom. 
GREAT BARRINGTON — The Fire Department extinguished a fire at Pizza House on State Road early Tuesday morning that severely damaged the business's kitchen and structure's first floor. 
 
"Our crews did an excellent job limiting the damage despite the challenges posed by this particular structure, which has been a fixture in town for decades," Chief Charles Burger said. "I'm extremely grateful that a tragedy was avoided this morning, and I'm hopeful that Pizza House will be able to rebuild and the residents will be able to return home soon."
 
Firefighters were dispatched to the 36 State Road business at about 3:30 a.m. for a report of a structure fire with tenants possibly trapped on the floor above. 
 
Upon arrival, firefighters observed heavy fire venting from the first-floor kitchen windows and smoke coming from the remainder of the building. Tenants were able to escape the building prior to firefighters reaching the scene, but there was still some uncertainty about whether or not a second apartment was occupied at the time the fire started. 
 
Firefighters made an aggressive interior attack and conducted a thorough search of the second floor while battling extreme heat and zero visibility inside the building. Their search confirmed that there were no tenants left inside, and crews were able to quickly knock down the flames. 
 
Once the fire was extinguished, firefighters remained on scene to extinguish hot spots. The firefighting effort was complicated by the fact that the building has been renovated and added onto multiple times during its lifespan, creating hidden areas that could potentially allow a fire to extend more easily. 
 
The Fire Department was assisted on scene by police, the Sheffield Fire Department and Southern Berkshire Ambulance.
 
Fire damage was limited to the first-floor kitchen and a second-floor bathroom, but there is smoke damage throughout the entire building. 
 
Residents in the upstairs apartments suffered from smoke inhalation that is not believed to be serious, and later went to the hospital on their own to seek medical treatment. 
 
Displaced tenants were able to make alternative arrangements for shelter. 
 
An investigation by the Fire Department and State Fire Marshal's Office is pointing to an electrical failure as the cause of the fire.
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Great Barrington Fire Uses New UTV to Reach Injured Hiker

Community Submission

The department demonstrates how an injured person can be transported with the new UTV. 
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Fire Department used its newly purchased utility task vehicle (UTV) this week to rescue an injured hiker.
 
Around 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 28, the Fire and Police departments, along with Southern Berkshire Ambulance, responded to Monument Mountain Reservation for a report of a 23-year-old woman with a broken ankle.
 
First responders were able to use GPS to track her location, which they determined to be a few thousand feet off Indian Mountain Trail, or about a mile-and-a-half into the woods, according to Fire Chief Charles Burger.
 
Using the Fire Department's new UTV, firefighters trained in technical rescue reached the woman within 15 minutes.
 
Medics assessed and stabilized her injury before she was loaded into the UTV and taken to the parking lot. Southern Berkshire Ambulance then transported her to an area hospital in stable condition.
 
In total, 30 rescue personnel responded to the scene, including the Sheffield Fire Department, which stood by with additional all-terrain vehicles. All units were clear from the scene shortly after 10 p.m.
 
"We were prepared for this situation to go a number of ways, but thankfully it was resolved quickly and successfully," Burger said. "Typically, rescues on the mountain take three or more hours and involve a lot of hiking and rigging of rope rescue systems. Also, given the time of night that this incident occurred, darkness would have greatly complicated matters if it weren't for the UTV."
 
The Great Barrington Firefighters Association recently purchased the rescue UTV, which has proven to be an asset to the department in its efforts to quickly and safely transport injured people. Wednesday night's incident is the second time this year the UTV was used on a search and rescue incident. 
 
After identifying the serious need for the equipment, the association raised $21,000 to make the purchase at no cost to Great Barrington's taxpayers. It is fully outfitted with skid plates, a roll cage, scene lighting and a rescue body for carrying a patient and equipment. Previously, in a situation like Wednesday night, firefighters would have needed to hike in the whole way and carry the patient out. 
 
"The UTV enables us to operate a lot more safely and efficiently," Burger said. "I would like to thank those who supported our fundraising efforts, along with Lt. AJ Anderson and firefighter Chris Laramee, who put in most of the work for the design and purchase of the unit."
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