Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Box Alarm Amherst College

 College Street in front of Valentine Hall (midnight)

The call went out clear as bell a minute before midnight last night, and the public safety response was the usual coordinated cacophony of personnel and heavy equipment descending on the scene.

Within minutes AFD Engines 1, 2 and 3 (Student Force) lined up in front of Valentine Hall along with an ambulance, two assistant Chiefs, AFD Chief Nelson, and a bevy of Amherst town and Amherst College police.

The fire started in clean folded linen stored in a hamper, but it was quickly extinguished, so additional off duty personnel were waived off (although three did show up.)

Many AFD personnel responded to Valentine Hall fire

The smoke alarms rang loud and clear, and in the pitch black cold winter night the warning strobe lights were also hard to miss.  Valentine Hall also has a sprinkler system, but the fire never got hot enough to activate them.

On the rear side of the building a bevy of students gathered after evacuating the building.  

Back side of Valentine Hall (midnight)

Amherst College "gifts" to the town anywhere from $90,000 to $120,000 per year to offset AFD responses like last night.  Although I'm told by the Town Manager this year it will be the lower figure.

Either way, they get more than their money's worth. 

College Street side Valentine Hall


Anonymous said...

I'd like to know more about the pedestrians who were hit by a car on the UMass campus near the rec center and Mullins Center just before 6 pm on Mon night. The car hit not 1, not 2, but 3 pedestrians.

Larry Kelley said...

It was pretty slippery going that night. All three were females but only one was transported to CDH for a non life threatening injury.

Dr. Ed said...


The student force does a lot of the "grunt work" and they really don't get credit for it.

I suspect AFD laid down hoses last night, may not have filled them but had at least one line from a hydrant to a pumper in case they needed it -- protocol usually is to do everything but turn the hydrant on.

(Or at least was back when we had canvas & rubber hoses that had to be hung to dry afterwards, but I digress.)

Engine 3 is the crew that usually gets to fish the hoses out of the snowbanks and roll them up. It's a lot easier to do that stuff when you are 19...

Older guys, slip-sliding on the ice in cold weather -- they can have heart attacks. The 19-year-old is just exhausted....

Larry, the town needs those young people, they don't get anywhere near the credit they deserve, and most of them will be "professional" firefighters somewhere within a few years -- and I'd argue are damn professional right now.

Dr. Ed said...

The car hit not 1, not 2, but 3 pedestrians.

Slide into three girls walking together, that's not hard to do.

And if they have the "cars must stop" mentality, they wouldn't get out of the way of a sliding car until it was way too late.

I give credit to AFD for erring on the side of caution here and checking out the other two. Worried about their friend, they could also have been injured and not know it...

Anonymous said...

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