PITTSFIELD -- A city man fell two-and-a-half stories to his death while painting on Churchill Street on Wednesday.
Members of Action Ambulance and Pittsfield Fire Department identified the victim as Peter E. Bell, 55, former director of the Pittsfield Boys & Girls Club, upon arrival at 364 Churchill St. at roughly 10:15 a.m.
Bell was reportedly conscious and having trouble breathing as first responders prepared him for transport to Berkshire Medical Center.
It remains unclear whether Bell died en route to or at the hospital. The hospital declined to comment.
Friends who wished not to be named and members of the Pittsfield Fire Department called the fall "accidental" and said Bell was helping paint a friend's barn when the mishap occurred.
According to two accounts, a loose nail hammered into a board Bell had thrown from the second-story barn door caught his clothing and pulled him out. He fell roughly 25 feet, according to Pittsfield Fire Department.
Bell, who put in 30 years of service at the Boys & Girls Club, resigned from the executive director post he'd occupied for nearly 15 years in early December. He is survived by his wife, Donna, two daughters and a son.
"Peter was a most devoted husband and father," John C. Donna, president of the Boys & Girls Club's board of directors, told The Eagle on Wednesday. "He did as much for the youth of this city as anyone and probably more than most."
Donna described Bell as "well-liked" and said he was distinguished by the "active interest" he took in city youths.
Bell joined the Boys & Girls Club in 1982 as the aquatics program director and director of the club-operated Camp Russell in Richmond. He held a Bachelor of science degree in education from the University of Massachusetts.
In addition to his service with the Boys & Girls Club, Bell spent untold hours coaching sports in the area, particularly softball and American Legion baseball teams.
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