Probe into Russell fire seeks video evidence

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RUSSELL — Investigators are calling for the public's help as they probe the fire that ravaged a former paper mill owned by a Pittsfield man.

The June 19 fire, which did extensive damage to the former Strathmore mill at 34 Valley View Ave. in Russell, is considered suspicious.

Authorities say anyone who has video footage of traffic on nearby roads between 6 and 9 p.m. — either from security cameras or another source — is asked to get in touch.

In particular, footage is wanted of activity along Woronoco Road in Russell, Route 20 west toward the VFW post in Russell, Route 20 east to the Four Mile Store in Westfield and Route 23 west to the Blandford line. People able to provide such evidence should call Russell State Police at 413-862-3312.

The building was owned by Jacob Trudeau, a Pittsfield developer. He bought the 233,000-square-foot Strathmore Mill No. 2 for $15,000 at auction in May 2019. Trudeau told The Eagle he hoped to use the space to cultivate cannabis.

State police are helping the Russell fire and police departments and the Office of the State Fire Marshal in the arson investigation.

Also, information about the fire can be phoned in confidentially on the state's Arson Hotline at 800-682-9229. The state offers rewards of up to $5,000 for tips that solve arson cases.

Larry Parnass can be reached at lparnass@berkshireeagle.com, at @larryparnass on Twitter and 413-588-8341.

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