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Sunday morning, three buildings were burned to the ground in Mount Washington, Massachusetts, a small, remote Berkshire town in the state’s southwest  corner between New York and Connecticut. Brian Tobin serves as select board member, director of emergency management, and acting police chief in the community of around 160. He spoke to WAMC about the fires, their impact on the people of Mount Washington, and what authorities are doing to respond.

Susan Orlean’s latest bestseller, “The Library Book,” is an investigation into a 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Central Library that consumed 400,000 volumes and damaged another 700,000. In addition to shedding light on what happened, it is a celebration for an institution she’s cherished since she was a kid.

Created and produced by the New York State Writers Institute, University Art Museum, and UAlbany Performing Arts Center in collaboration with WAMC Northeast Public Radio, the Creative Life series features leading figures from a variety of artistic disciplines in conversation with Joe Donahue about their creative inspiration, craft, and careers.

On Friday, March 1 at 8 p.m., Joe will be joined by Susan Orlean, author of the current New York Times bestseller, "The Library Book." A staff writer at The New Yorker for a quarter century, Orlean is the author of seven books, including "The Orchid Thief," an international bestseller that became the hit film "Adaptation."

On Saturday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m., Orlean and co-host Sarah Thyre will present a live taping of their Earwolf podcast, "Crybabies" in the Sosnoff Theater at the Bard Fisher Center with guests Michael Ian Black, Karen Chee, and Gary Shteyngart.

Pittsfield Police Department

Police in Pittsfield are searching for a man suspected of committing four arsons in the city on Saturday.

A Schenectady woman has reportedly succumbed to her injuries after being allegedly set on fire by her husband. Elizabeth Gonzales had been brought to the burn unit at Westchester Medical Center where she died.

Composite Image by Dave Lucas (WAMC)

The U.S. Attorney's office is looking into some building demolitions that took place in Troy back in 2013, while demolition experts in Schenectady have begun the slow process of taking down apartment buildings gutted in a March 6 fire.

About two years ago the city of Troy ordered the emergency demolition of four buildings along King Street. The directive was given when then-city engineer Russ Reeves was out-of-town.

City of Schenectady

A search-and-recovery mission continues at the scene of two burned-out apartment buildings in Schenectady.

It's been a week since the five-story brick buildings along Jay Street, not far from City Hall,  were ravaged by a pernicious blaze that ultimately affected about 60 people. Seven people were hospitalized, including one individual who jumped out of a five-story window to escape the intense flames.

Troy Fire Department

A string of arsons in one Troy neighborhood has residents on edge and authorities on high alert.

Troy Fire Department

  Officials are investigating another possible case of arson in Lansingburg.

Fire Chief Tom Garrett tells the Times Union fire broke out at a vacant First Avenue building between 113th and 114th streets around 2:30 a.m. The fire appeared to have started at the back of the structure, in the same general area where firefighters were called to six suspicious fires around a month ago. No arrests have been made.

Danielle Sanzone - The Record

Aug 22, 2012

Concerned about a recent string of arsons, and violent crime in their streets, people who call the city of Troy’s north-central neighborhood home came together for a meeting last night at a church in Lansingburgh. The focus of the gathering was what people can do about these problems. Danielle Sanzone is a reporter for The Record newspaper, and was at the meeting that was organized after the fires and crimes. She spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.