The Great Barrington Fire Department extinguished a fire at the Pizza House on State Road early yesterday morning. According to Great Barrington Fire Chief Charles Burger at approximately 3:30am firefighters were dispatched to the eatery at 36 State Road, 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 an efficient and 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. Fire damage was limited to the first floor kitchen and a second floor bathroom, but there was 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.

The fire, which was investigated by the Great Barrington Fire Department and State Fire Marshal's Office, is believed to have been caused by an electrical failure.

Courtesy Photo: Brian Mead

A first-floor fire at 36 State Road was believed to have been caused by an electrical failure.

 

$50 Million Law Suit Levied Against The Berkshire Eagle Dismissed

Judge John Agostini has dismissed a $50 million defamation suit filed against the Berkshire Eagle by former Pittsfield City Council candidate, Craig Gaetani. The Berkshire Eagle reports that the civil suit by Gaetani – also a former mayoral candidate, claimed an October 24th article was defamatory. It named The Eagle, its publisher, Fredric Rutberg, and reporter Amanda Drane as defendants. Gaetani had taken issue with the article’s final two paragraphs, which described an encounter in the parking lot after a candidate’s forum in which he participated. After the forum, Gaetani was approached by a man who recommended he not drive home, saying he smelled alcohol on his breath — an exchange that was witnessed by Drane.

 

Man Asleep In Car With Heroin Gets 18 Months Behind Bars

A Pittsfield man who was found passed out in a car with dozens of bags of heroin and thousands of dollars in cash has been sentenced to 18 months in jail. The Berkshire Eagle reports that 35 year old Timothy Herring was unconscious in the front seat of a car parked in the middle of Algonquin Street in Lanesborough on March 19th of 2016 and didn't respond when officers knocked on this vehicles window. He was sentenced as part of an agreement between Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Gregory Barry and Herring's attorney, Marc Vincelette. He will serve his sentence at the Berkshire Jail and House of Correction, and was given credit for 15 days of time already served.