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Fatal Fire Amherst Massachusetts

[The Center News Reporter]  [January 21, 2013 12:39 pm ]  [Views 774]

A University of Massachusetts student lost his life in a fire at the Rolling Green apartment complex that left 32 homeless Monday morning, Asst. Chief Lindsay Stromgren said. 

Stromgren said firefighters found the man inside one of the units. His name and age have not been released. 

The fire, reported shortly before 5 a.m., heavily damaged a number of units at the complex, which is located off Route 9 at 1 Rolling Green Drive. Stromgren said 5 units of the 10-unit building were completely gutted. The roofs to several units, all facing the stretch of Route 9 also known as Belchertown Road, were all but destroyed. 

The blaze displaced 32 people, including 22 University of Massachusetts students. UMass housing services, ÉRolling Green management and a team from the American Red Cross were assisting those displaced. 

Multiple agencies were summoned to the scene. The Northampton, Hadley, South Hadley, Leverett, and Belchertown fire departments provided mutual aide. Officials from the state Office of Fire Services, including State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan, were among the officials at the scene investigating the blaze. 

Stromgren said he expected the investigation into the cause of the blaze to take some time.

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[]01.21.2013 |

AMHERST -- Residents Adam and Gina Bigelow move some of their belongings out of their fire-damaged apartment at Rolling Green apartments on Monday.Dave Roback | The Republican

Amherst police officers cordoned off the block of apartments damaged by the blaze with yellow police tape. 

Stromgren said several firefighters slipped on ice and were treated at the scene. 

Franklin resident Pat Cooke said her daughter, who lives at the complex with three roommates, called at about 5 a.m. to say they had all safely escaped. 

The daughter said that somebody came banging on their door shortly before 5 a.m. yelling “fire, fire,” Cooke said.

“It’s not a call you want to get at 5 o’clock in the morning,” said Cooke, who expressed relief that her daughter and her roommates escaped injury. Cooke drove to the fire scene from her Franklin home. 

Chris Horte, a senior at UMass from Rockland, also awoke to someone knocking on his door to warn of the fire. Horte said he first awoke to the sound of car horns outside, only realizing the need to leave his unit when someone started yelling “fire.” 

Horte, who escaped along with his three roommates, said he watched from the parking lot as the fire ripped through the apartment block. 

“It spread really fast,” he said.


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