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Lt. Michael D'Avella and firefighter Jarrett Robitaille were given awards for meritorious conduct on Tuesday by Gov. Charlie Baker, Public Safety Sec. Daniel Bennett, and Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey.

Two Pittsfield Firefighters Honored By Governor For Meritorious Conduct

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Two city firefighters were honored by the governor for meritorious conduct.
Lt. Michael D'Avella and Firefighter Jarrett Robitaille were given awards on Tuesday morning by Gov. Charlie Baker, Public Safety Sec. Daniel Bennett, and State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey.
D'Avella and Robitaille were recognized for bravery for pulling 72-year-old Herdy Iroth from a burning building. The pair had rushed into Tahiti Takeout and found Iroth in an apartment on the second floor in the early hours of Dec. 8, 2016. The building had smoke showing on two sides and there was zero visibility inside. The two used thermal imaging to search and find Iroth and Robitaille carried the man down the stairs.
Iroth was transported to Berkshire Medical Center and then airlifted to the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester. Iroth died 10 days later because of the injuries related to the severe burns he received during the blaze.
D'Avella and Robitaille were just two of five firefighters across the state to receive awards for meritorious conduct at the Firefighter of the Year Awards Ceremony held at Worcester Mechanics Hall.
"The commonwealth's firefighters make tremendous sacrifices and risk their lives on a regular basis to protect the members of their communities," said Baker. "We are proud to salute this year's award recipients, who drew upon their training and experience to perform remarkable acts that saved lives."
Baker presented 33 awards. Three Norman Knight Awards for Excellence in Community Service were presented to a Wellesley fire and life safety education, a Lowell firefighter for work relating to the prevention of opioid deaths, and an Uxbridge deputy chief whose work led to a recall of a faulty combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarm. 
Eight group awards for meritorious conduct were given to teams from Boston, Brockton, Cambridge, Hyannis, Holyoke, Lowell, Turners Falls, and Gill, Westwood, Canton, Dedham, Norwood, and Walpole.
Fifteen medals of valor were given to firefighters from Boston, Braintree, Brockton, Brookline, Holyoke, Mansfield, and Norwood. 
And a medal of honor award was presented posthumously to Watertown firefighter Joseph Toscano.
"Our firefighters deserve our thanks and praise every day of the year, and it is important to recognize the incredible acts of bravery performed by these public servants in cities and towns across Massachusetts," said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito.
"Whether battling house fires or educating children and seniors on fire prevention and safety, we are grateful for their selfless acts."

Tags: awards,   firefighters,   PFD,   recognition event,   state officials,   

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Pittsfield School Officials Affirm Decision on Braves' Replacement

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The School Committee affirmed its decision to replace the Taconic mascot on Wednesday.
A vote on Wednesday was taken to clarify the procedure in accepting and then filing a petition two weeks ago from a group of citizens who are against changing the name from the Braves. 
"I think we are wading here into a parliamentary morass," committee member William Cameron said. "The point of the vote has been lost sight of as we struggle to find words to satisfy those people who won't be satisfied by anything but rescinding the vote." 
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