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Authorities Investigating Lake Onota Village Fire That Killed Three

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Authorities are investigating a fire Saturday morning that left three people dead. 
 
Two people were found outside the structure in Lake Onota Village and taken to Berkshire Medical Center with nonlife-threatening injuries. Three others were inside the structure when firefighters arrived at the scene at about 3:40 a.m. on Saturday. 
 
In a brief press conference at about 10 a.m., Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington said, "there is no indication the fire is suspicious at this time."
 
The identities of the victims are being withheld until next of kin can be notified. 
 
Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said firefighters arrived at the scene within 5 minutes of the call. 
 
The home was heavily damaged and a nearby residence had some radiant heat damage to its siding. 
 
"There is one hydrant here, this is a private development off of the city's main water system," he said. "We did develop some water problems in our initial attack so we did ask for assistance from Lanesborough and Richmond fire departments to send a couple of tankers for supplemental water." 
 
Lake Onota Village is a 131-lot mobile home community off Valentine Road that is owned by M.H.Communities.
 
Harrington and Czerwinski were joined by Police Chief Michael Wynn, First Assistant District Attorney Karen Bell, Mayor Linda Tyer and State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey. None of these individuals spoke. 
 
The investigation is being conducted by the Pittsfield Fire and Police departments, members of the State Police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal, and detectives from the State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Berkshire district attorney's office.

 

     

Pittsfield Man Shot By Police During Pursuit Found Guilty of Reckless Driving

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A man shot by police officers during a vehicle pursuit in 2017 was found guilty on Monday of reckless operation of a motor vehicle, operating a vehicle with a suspended license, and failure to stop for an officer.
 
The jury, however, found him not guilty on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon.
 
Mark Marauszwski, 58, was sentenced on Monday morning after the jury trial to 18 months in the Berkshire County House of Correction and fined $100 for failure to stop for an officer. He was also given a six-month suspended sentence on the charge of driving with a suspended license.
 
Marauszwski was accused of striking Officer David Hallas with his car's door during a traffic stop on Bartlett Avenue in January 2017 and then driving off. He then allegedly led police on a pursuit through the city, ending in Rotary Park on Springside Avenue. 
 
The district attorney's office accused Marauszwski of driving toward Office Martin Streit there and Streit shot three bullets at the Mercedes that Marauszwski was driving. The vehicle came to a stop when it hit a cement post. The officers administered first aid to Marauszwski and he was transported to Berkshire Medical Center for one bullet wound. 
 
The District Attorney's Office later cleared Streit of any wrongdoing in the case and no charges were pursued against the officer.
 
Marauszwski denied that he struck the officer with the door and said his intention at the park was to pull over and surrender. He claimed he did not attempt to drive at the officers.
 
Deputy District Attorney Richard Dohoney argued in court that Marauszwski's attempted escape from police posed serious safety risks to the community.
 
"The top priority of the Berkshire District Attorney's Office is to keep the public safe and protect the police officers who safeguard our communities," District Attorney Andrea Harrington said in a statement released on Monday.
 
The case was the first of two officer-involved shootings in 2017. In September of 2017, Daniel Gillis was shot by officer Christopher Colello. In that case, as well, the officer was cleared of any wrongdoing.
     

Woman Arrested In Pittsfield Stabbing

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A 27-year-old woman has been arrested for allegedly stabbing a 34-year-old man on Madison Avenue.
 
Police say Nakesha Peltier-Tarrance is being charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and is currently being held on $10,000 bail related to the incident Monday morning. 
 
Police say officers were dispatched to the area of Madison Avenue and Seymour Street at 10:42 a.m. for a reported disturbance and stabbing. On arrival, officers encountered Peltier-Tarrance and the victim, who was suffering from multiple stab wounds to the upper chest. 
 
Officers administered first aid and the man was transported to Berkshire Medical Center, where he is reportedly in stable condition. 
 
Peltier-Tarrance was arrested on the crime and a knife seized as evidence. Police say there is no risk to the general public.
 
Police are still investigating the incident and anyone with information is asked to call the detective bureau at 413-448-9705.
 
The stabbing is the second violent crime in the city this weekend.
 
A man was murdered early Sunday morning on Edward Avenue. In that case, the man was discovered outside and sustained at least one gunshot wound and was pronounced dead on the scene. The district attorney's office provided little information regarding the incident and the name of the victim was being withheld pending notification of his family. 
     

Fire Displaces Four Pittsfield Families

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

The flames poked through the roof of the building but Engine 5's crew controlled the blaze.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Four families are displaced after a fire caused significant damage to a Cherry Street apartment building.

But quick work and awareness from the firefighters ultimately saved the building. 

Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Noyes said firefighters were dispatched to 2-4 Cherry Street at about 6:30 Wednesday night for the reported fire and almost immediately after arriving, it was reported that the fire was out.
 
That wasn't the case.
 
"Upon arrival, we were advised that it was out. Engine 3 was the first crew in, Capt. Miller had his thermal imaging camera and noticed it was already going in the walls. He called for a line right away, we got a line up to him, they started hitting it from there," Noyes said. 
 
The occupants escaped the building and nobody was hurt. But the flames climbed up the walls, into the attic, and eventually popped through the roof. As Engine 3 worked on the walls on the second-floor apartment, a second engine was called to the scene.
 
"We immediately sent the second crew to come here into the attic, which is Engine 5's crew. It extended into the attic already and started breaking through the roof. They were able to keep it in check there," Noyes said.
 
In cold and blustering conditions, Noyes was near the point of calling in a second alarm to bring more firefighters to the scene but those working in the attic were able to get control of the blaze quickly. A total of three engines and 12 firefighters worked the scene.
 
"It was just a great stop by the crew. Everybody did their job like they were supposed to and worked like a well-oiled machine tonight," Noyes said.
 
The Red Cross was called to the scene to help the 10 individuals who will not be able to stay in the building tonight. A cat was reported missing but Noyes thinks that it likely got out through the open back door firefighters had used to access the building.
 
"There is quite a lot of damage to the roof but this is not a total loss by any means but there is going to be some serious work that needs to be done. There is water damage, smoke damage, so it is going to be a lot before anybody can go back in there," Noyes said.
 
Noyes said the fire had begun on the second floor, at 4 Cherry, in about the middle of the large multi-family building. It isn't yet known what caused the blaze but investigators were called to the scene. The deputy chief expects some answers on Thursday. 
 
The home is at the end of a dead end and that section was closed by the Police Department as the firefighters worked on the scene for more than an hour. The building is listed as being owned by Gary and Claudine Burchard, according to documents on file with the Register of Deeds.
     

Pittsfield Police Warns of Phone Scam

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police are warning residents of a phone scam.
 
The department received a complaint on Monday that woman received a call asking for donations on behalf of the department. The caller asked the woman for her credit card information. Police, however, say that neither the Pittsfield Police Officers Union Local 447 nor the Pittsfield Police Supervisors Union Local 447S is currently running a fundraiser.
 
The woman did not give her credit card information and Police urge others to do the same. 
 
"As always, we urge residents to err on the side of caution if you are unsure of any calls you may receive asking for personal information such as credit card numbers, birthdays, or social security information," Police said in a statement. 
 
Police added that the company which conducts union fundraisers never asks for credit card information and if anybody is in any doubt they can contact the department directly with questions. 
     
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