Richmond crash delays delivery of cancer-treatment materials


The name of the Richmond fire chief has been corrected in this story.

RICHMOND — A vehicle carrying cancer-treatment materials crashed and caught fire in Richmond on Christmas morning, damaging a pole and leading to road closings in Richmond and Canaan, N.Y.

The materials were stored in a secure container that was not affected or damaged in the crash, said Dave Procopio of Massachusetts State Police Media Relations.

After consultation, officials agreed that the materials remained safe to use, and arranged for other transportation to bring them to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield. Another vehicle arrived to take the materials at about 10 a.m.

Procopio said the treatment materials were provided by Cardinal Health, a company with offices in New York.

He said a hazardous materials team and other agencies were notified, including the Massachusetts Radiation Control Program.

Pittsfield Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski responded in his capacity as head of the hazmat team in the county.

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It remained unclear whether the materials included radioactive substances used for cancer treatment. Attempts to reach Berkshire Medical Center's media relations department for information were not successful.

It was snowing when the car, a 2016 Toyota Rav4, struck a pole at 6:48 a.m. Monday in the vicinity of 482 Canaan Road. The incident remains under investigation by the Massachusetts State Police.

The driver, a 23-year-old man from Niskayuna, N.Y., was evaluated at BMC for possible injuries. He was the only person in the car.

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Steve Traver, fire chief for the town of Richmond, said that when he arrived, the driver had gotten out of the car.

The car's front end was on fire — "pretty well engulfed," Traver said.

The car had rolled onto its side and the utility pole had snapped.

Traver, the first on the scene, put out the fire with a 20-pound extinguisher he carries with him.

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"I emptied the whole thing," he said. "The fire's out — that's all that matters."

The fire was extinguished by 7:07 a.m., Procopio said.

Eversource Energy responded to repair the pole.

The road was closed until about 1:30 p.m. in the area of Route 41. In New York, the road was closed in the area of Route 22.

Eversource received no reports of power losses in connection with the crash, said Priscilla Ress, a spokeswoman.

New York state police and Massachusetts State Police from the Lee barracks responded to the crash.

Patricia LeBoeuf can be reached at, at @BE_pleboeuf on Twitter and 413-496-6247.


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