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BERKELEY FIRE DEPARTMENT






BERKELEY HOUSE FIRE LEAVES TWO DEAD; THIRD PERSON MISSING


Michael Smith

April 6, 2016 - KTVI BY KEVIN S. HELD

BERKELEY, MO. - The Berkeley Police Department is looking for a man who lived in a home that went up in flames overnight. Two women were found dead inside the home.

The fire took place just before 1:40 a.m. in the 6100 block of Eaton Drive. Authorities have not identified the two women.

Police said 39-year-old Michael Smith lived at the home, but has gone missing. He's approximately 5'10" tall and weighs 185 pounds. His vehicle is described as a newer model Chevy Camaro, red in color, with temporary Missouri tags.

Anyone with information on Smith's whereabouts is asked to contact the Berkeley Police Department at 314-524-3311.

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FIREFIGHTERS BATTLE 3-ALARM BLAZE AT BERKELEY GAS STATION


The Mobile Gas Station in the 6800 block of North Hanley caught fire around 4 a.m.

January 20, 2016 - KMOV By Ashlee Carlstrom

BERKELEY, MO. - Fire investigators are looking into what caused a north Saint Louis County Mobile Mart to go up in flames.

The gas station is near I-70, just south of I-270 in the city of Berkeley. Officials say no one was hurt, but the damage is significant.

Just after 4:00 a.m. this morning, a fire broke out in the 6800 block of North Hanley Road.

The gas station was not open for business at the time, but the damage left behind is more than meets the eye.

"They almost called it club mobile. Everybody comes to this particular mobile, you came for the chicken. It is what it is," says Anthony Lee, customer.

Lee says his wife works at the Mobile Mart and says this has not been an easy business for the owner to run.

"The man had a hard time trying to stay open, plagued with problems. He had someone drive into the window about a week ago," said Lee.

Officials say the gas station is no stranger to violence. In late 2014, it was the scene of an officer involved shooting and protests.

"I just wish all the violence and stuff would stop in Saint Louis and we can get everything together and do everything right. No reason to burn down the gas station," said Thomas Harlen, Berkeley resident.

Many residents say the events like crime and the fire, define their community in a light they do not see as fair.

"I've been here all my life, my kids are in this area and it's not what people think. The police are great, the mayor is great. Really nice community and we want it to get better in the future," said Brian Durris, Berkeley resident.

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FERGUSON PROTESTER WHO SET FIRE AT BERKELEY QUIKTRIP SENTENCED TO 8 YEARS IN PRISON


Joshua Williams, of St. Louis, was sentenced to 8 years for setting fire to a convenience store in Berkeley after a fatal officer-involved shooting.

December 10, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Denise Hollinshed

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO. - A man who was a frequent participant in protests in Ferguson last year was sentenced Thursday to eight years in prison for starting a fire at a QuikTrip in Berkeley after an officer-involved shooting there.

Joshua Williams, 19, was sentenced by St. Louis County Circuit Judge John D. Warner Jr. in a courtroom packed with Williams' supporters. Prosecutors had sought a 15-year sentence, while Williams' attorney asked for a suspended or lesser sentence.

Williams started a fire at a QuikTrip in Berkeley during protests after the death of Antonio Martin, 18, who was fatally shot Dec. 23 by a Berkeley police officer at a Mobil gas station across the street from the QuikTrip in the 6800 North Hanley Road.

Police said Williams entered the QuikTrip shortly after looters shattered its glass doors early on Dec. 24. Police say he took items from the store and used lighter fluid to set a fire outside the convenience store. Store surveillance and several media outlets captured video of Williams, police said.

The fire was put out before extensive damage was done.

Williams was often seen at Ferguson protests last year. In October, he was photographed walking arm in arm with author and activist Cornel West toward the St. Louis University campus, where protesters staged a sit-in. He confronted St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson during a Ferguson Commission meeting last year. He was also arrested at least twice during Ferguson-related protests for unlawful assembly and refusal to disperse.

Williams, of north St. Louis County, pleaded guilty to arson, burglary and stealing last month in St. Louis County Circuit Court.

While the judge took a break to review information in another room Thursday, supporters of Williams sang "Justice for Josh Williams, justice for all of us." There was an outburst when he returned and announced the eight-year sentence for arson. Williams was also sentenced on the burglary and stealing charges, which will run concurrently to the arson sentence.

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ELECTION RESULTS FOR BERKELEY POLICE-FIRE PENSION

November 3, 2015 -

ST. LOUIS COUNTY -

Source: ST. LOUIS COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTION COMMISSION

BERKELEY - PROPOSITION I
          **TAX LEVY - POLICE & FIRE PENSION**
          (Vote for )  1
              (WITH 4 OF 4  COUNTED)
           YES  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .       205   48.69
           NO.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .       216   51.31




FERGUSON PROTESTER PLEADS GUILTY TO SETTING FIRE AT BERKELEY QUIKTRIP


Photo by Call News

November 3, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Joel Currier

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - One of the more visible protesters during the Ferguson unrest last year has pleaded guilty to starting a fire at a QuikTrip in Berkeley in December.

Joshua Williams, 19, of north St. Louis County, pleaded guilty to arson, burglary and stealing Monday in St. Louis County Circuit Court.

Police say Williams started a fire at a QuikTrip in Berkeley during protests after the death of Antonio Martin, 18, who was fatally shot Dec. 23 by a Berkeley police officer at a Mobil gas station across the street from the QuikTrip in the 6800 North Hanley Road.

Police said Williams entered the QuikTrip shortly after looters shattered its glass doors early on Dec. 24. Police say he took items from the store and used lighter fluid to set a fire outside the convenience store. Store surveillance and several media outlets captured video of Williams, police said. He was charged Dec. 27.

The Post-Dispatch, Bloomberg, USA Today and the Associated Press quoted and photographed Williams during Ferguson protests last year. In October, he was photographed walking arm in arm with author and activist Cornel West toward the St. Louis University campus, where protesters staged a sit-in.

Williams also confronted St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson during a Ferguson Commission meeting last year, shouting at Dotson as the police chief tried to answer questions. He was also arrested at least twice during Ferguson-related protests for unlawful assembly and refusal to disperse.

Sentencing for Williams is set for Dec. 10 in St. Louis County Circuit Judge John D. Warner Jr.'s courtroom.

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HOMELESS MOTHER SAYS BURNED HOME COULD'VE BEEN SAVED

July 6, 2014 - KSDK

BERKELEY - A Berkeley mother who lost her house Saturday morning in a house fire believes firefighters could have saved her home.

Cynthia Day said firefighters first showed up to her house without water. She said she stood by an emergency responder as she watched flames engulf her home. She lives less than a mile away from a Berkeley fire station on Airport Road. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Day lives near another home that went up in flames. Charles Cross lived in a home with his seven children. He said the cause of the fire was electrical in nature. He did not have renters insurance. He lost everything his family owned in the fire. Cross believes his home could have been saved if the fire station on Airport Road was open that day.

The City of Berkeley says declining revenue and unexpected tornado recovery costs have strained its budget. As a result, over the past eight months the city closed one of its two fire stations to save money. Fire officials said the fire station on Airport Road is presently open.

Berkeley's fire chief says by the time they were called to Cross's house, they wouldn't have been able to save it, even if the nearest fire station was open. No one was injured in either fires.

NewsChannel 5 reached out to the Berkeley Fire Department to see if the fire station on Airport Road was understaffed and if it has affected response times. We were told that we may have to wait until tomorrow for a response.

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FIREHOUSE CLOSED WHILE FAMILY'S HOUSE BURNS

June 28, 2014 - KSDK

BERKELEY, MO. - Did budget cuts keep fire fighters from saving a man's home? That is the question people in one St. Louis County community are asking.

Charles Cross says he is thankful no one was home when fire destroyed his Berkeley house the day before Father's Day. But, he believes his family would still have a home if the closest fire station had been open that day.

The City of Berkeley says declining tax revenue and unexpected tornado recovery costs have strained its budget. And over the past eight months the city says it has closed one of its two fire stations temporarily to save money.

"I don't think my house would have burned down the way that it did if that fire station right there would have been open," said Cross, referring to the station that is about two minutes from his house.

Fire fighters came from another station farther away and from Ferguson on a mutual aid agreement the day of Cross's fire. By the time they arrived, he says the house was a total loss. The fire chief says fire fighters made it to Cross's home in about seven minutes after the call came in, and says they could not have saved his home, even with the closer station open that day.

The city says the budget is back in line and the station will stay open going forward, but Cross and others in Berkeley are planning to protest city hall should it close again.

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FRIENDS RALLY AROUND BERKELEY COUPLE AFTER FIRE KILLS TWO SONS

February 11, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

BERKELEY - Funeral arrangements for two young boys killed in a Berkeley house fire Monday are being put on hold until their father gets better, a minister at the couple's church said Tuesday.

Steve Towns Sr. remains in critical condition at Mercy Hospital St. Louis in Creve Coeur. He is in an induced coma, suffering from burns and smoke inhalation. His wife, Cheronna Towns, is in satisfactory condition at Mercy. She suffered burns and cuts on her face and hands.

Cheronna Towns could hear the screams of her two sons who were trapped inside the home before dawn Monday, as she and her husband tried frantically to get them out, said Joshua Botello, a minister at Hope Church where the Towns family attends services.

Botello said Cheronna Towns shared that horrifying account with people gathered around her hospital bed. "She said, 'I couldn't get them. I could hear them,'" Botello said.

The fire at the couple's home in the 8200 block of Airport Road broke out before 5:30 a .m. Monday. The cause is still under investigation, but officials say they have found nothing suspicious about the fire. Firefighters found space heaters throughout the home.

Steve and Cheronna Towns escaped from a side window with their infant, 4-month-old Deja. The put the baby in the car, which was parked in their driveway, and fought to get back inside the burning home to save their sons. But the front door was dead-bolted shut, the police chief says.

Firefighters had to break down the door. The boys - Stephen Jr., 4, and Isaiah, 3 - were found dead near the front door.

At the hospital Monday, Botello said there was overwhelming sadness as family and friends of the couple passed around photographs of the boys.

"Yesterday was a tough day," Botello said. "Today, our focus is prayers for the dad. Today is a little more promise because the mom came out of her hospital room" and asked them to pray for her husband.

"To see the rallying of this family is amazing," Botello added.

Deja was hospitalized Monday in satisfactory condition. When she is released, she will stay with family, but the church is helping collect donations of bedding, diapers and clothing for her.

Family and friends of the Towns couple have set up a fundraising website. Their goal is to raise $10,000, and the site had raised nearly $8,000 by noon Tuesday.

Information about sizes can be found at the church's website. Donors can drop off items at Hope Church, at 10636 Bellefontaine Road.

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2 CHILDREN KILLED, 2 OTHERS HURT IN ST. LOUIS COUNTY HOUSE FIRE

February 10, 2014 - KMOV

BERKELEY - Two children were killed and two others hurt in a blaze that swept though a home in Berkeley Monday morning.

Crews responded to the scene on Airport Rd. just east of I-170 around 5:30 a.m. and found a home engulfed in flames.Firefighters got the blaze out and put salt down to help melt ice caused by battling the flames.

Two children were found dead inside the house. An adult and child were taken to the hospital in unknown condition.

The victims' identities were not immediately available.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire.

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Possible meth components discovered inside Boeing after fire alarm

April 10, 2013 - KSDK

BERKELEY - Firefighters and police in Berkeley responded to a fire alarm at Boeing Co. only to discover chemicals that could be used to make methamphetamine.

According to Col. Frank McCall Jr., Berkeley Chief of Police, the fire alarm went off around 10 a.m. Firefighters found chemicals inside the building tied to the making of meth.

The police department was contacted and later removed those chemicals.

McCall did not specify which chemicals were found and why authorities think they could be connected to brewing meth. He said the matter is a Boeing personnel issue.

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UPDATE:

April 11, 2011 - Berkeley Police Chief Frank McCall Jr. said the Boeing employee was taken into custody at Airport Circle and is expected to be charged sometime Thursday. Chemicals used to make meth were seized by the St. Charles County Drug Task Force, which assisted with the investigation.

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