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New England news in brief


Forest fire nearly contained

The raging forest fire in the Berkshires, the largest in the state in more than two decades, is now 90 percent contained, fire officials said. The East Mountain fire has now consumed at least 947 acres of the Clarksburg State Forest, said Jennifer Mieth, a spokeswoman for the state fire marshal’s office. The blaze broke out in an area that is difficult to reach and spread quickly, due to “dry leaf litter and surface fuel combined with low humidity and steep terrain,” Mieth said. The blaze is the state’s largest wildfire since April 1999, when the Tekoa Mountain fire in Russell burned 1,100 acres and killed Russell Deputy Fire Chief John Murphy, fire officials said. On Tuesday, 10 firefighters were patrolling the perimeter of the fire and putting out hot spots, fire officials said. Firefighters returned to the scene Wednesday morning. “Firefighters will monitor the fire daily until we have significant rain,” Mieth said. The soil underneath the surface material is damp, so the fire is not burning deeply, and streams and brooks are acting as natural barriers to its spread, officials said. The Appalachian Trail has been affected by the fire, Mieth said, and as a result, hikers should “stay clear of this area for their own health and safety.”



Double shooting investigated

Two men were wounded during a shooting just after midnight in which bullets also damaged several vehicles and one building on Cherry Street, police said. It was the second shooting in The Port neighborhood this month. The victims are both Cambridge residents — one was in his 20s, the other in his 30s. They were taken to a hospital for treatment of what police believe are non-life-threatening injuries, Jeremy Warnick, a Police Department spokesman, wrote in an e-mail. Police responded to the scene around 12:10 a.m. Wednesday after getting a ShotSpotter activation, police said. No arrests have been made but the investigation is ongoing, as is the search for the person or persons responsible for a shooting last week in the same neighborhood, police said. A Watertown man, a former resident of the Newtowne Court housing development, was seriously wounded in the May 10 incident, police said.



Man killed by train

A young man was killed by a train on the railroad tracks near Greenway Street early Wednesday, the Berkshire district attorney’s office said. Bryan Jones, 25, of Pittsfield, was found dead on the tracks at 2:30 a.m. by a CSX employee, the district attorney’s office said in a statement. Employees called police after the train operator reported striking an unknown object. The investigation is ongoing.


Pedestrian seriously injured

A 63-year-old Watertown man suffered serious injuries Wednesday when he was hit by a truck after stepping into a crosswalk near Main and Bacon streets shortly before 7 a.m., according to police. The driver of the truck, a 27-year-old man from Norton, was heading east on Main Street when he made a left turn onto Bacon Street and struck the man, police said. The man was taken to an area hospital, where he was in critical condition. The driver did not appear to be impaired at the time of the crash, police said. The investigation is ongoing.


Woman who threatened Collins unfit for trial

A Maine woman charged with threatening US Senator Susan Collins in a series of voice mails after the election is not competent to stand trial, a judge ruled. Katrina Preble, 56, was charged with two counts of making interstate threats because the server that stores the voice mails is not located in Maine. On Tuesday, Judge Lance Walker ordered her to be returned to the Carswell Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, over the objection of her attorney, who wanted her to be treated locally. Walker described it as the only facility in the federal prison system that can restore female defendants to competency. If convicted, Preble faces up to five years in prison. It’s the second time in two years a Maine resident has been charged with threatening Collins, who was reelected in November. A woman convicted of mailing a letter containing powder to Collins’s home was sentenced last month to 30 months in prison. (AP)