Monday, August 11, 2014

Southpoint Fire Damage (View From Above)

Southpoint Apartments (most fire damage to  rear center building)

Fire cause has been determined:  Tenant left (for the day) a pot on the stove

Considering it took an army of firefighters three hours to bring the stubborn Saturday afternoon blaze under control, I'm actually surprised there's not way more extensive damage to the roof of the structure.  



I just now noticed the time/date stamp on this iPhone video I took, which shows 5:02 PM on Saturday.  Considering the first AFD engine was still a few minutes away, kind of gives you an idea of how far along the fire was before a drop of water was brought to bear

And of course it did not help that the initial arrival truck, Engine 1, had only one firefighter aboard.






Frustrating statement from AFD Local 1764 regarding Southpoint Apartments fire:



Now if you really want to lose sleep tonight envision this scenario repeating itself three weeks from now at Townhouse Apartments in North Amherst, which is almost exclusively UMass students.

And on a Saturday at 5:00 PM too many of them will be under the influence of alcohol.

The extra staffing (4 firefighters) UMass pays for do not report for duty until 9:00 PM on the weekends.

Pay attention! (nothing to cheer about):



18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Until the state comes in and covers their part of the burden that U-mass is on a small town like Amherst, our school system and town government are going to have a take a long hard look at what is important in town. If we cut the school administrative cost by 25% we would still be much higher than the average per pupil but the 25% could go a long way in staffing public safety.

There are not perfect solutions but we might need better balance in our spending.

Anonymous said...

Posted this on the Amherst, MA subreddit for ya:

http://reddit.com/r/AmherstMA

Larry Kelley said...

Thanks. The UMass subreddit always brings, err, interesting comments.

But probably not much going on there for another few weeks.

Anonymous said...

Public safety is not a priority for this town government. There are always funds for shade trees, public transportation, shelters, informational technology, and other "priorities". Larry Shafter had a better grasp on it.

Anonymous said...

Fire-schmire, there are many more $100k administrative jobs that can be created in the school system. Why would Amherst waste money on fire fighters. Fires happen occasionally, school is in every day starting in September.

Larry Kelley said...

Sarcasm requires its own special font.

Anonymous said...

Larry Shaffer was grasping something, but it wasn't town priorities.

Anonymous said...

A reminder to all:

The police and fire stations are manned 24/7 for the entire year and benefit the entire community.

The school year is 180 days.

Dr. Ed said...

You can't blame UMass for there not being enough firefighters available == UMass is not in session, very few people are on campus.

While AFD may have to deal with UM students, they are doing so as Amherst Residents who reside in tax-paying properties.

Amherst is no different in this regard tan the other 350 communities in the Commonwealth.

Stephanie said...

To "Anonymous" who wrote: "Fire-schmire, there are many more $100k administrative jobs that can be created in the school system. Why would Amherst waste money on fire fighters. Fires happen occasionally, school is in every day starting in September."

You obviously have never had to face fire head on and painfully wait for the fire trucks to arrive while you watch your life go up in FLAMES and lose a 21-yr-old neighbor in the process. School is NOT "in everyday". And the safety of the town should be just as important as the education it provides! Fires are unpredictable. And this town should have the staff and equipment to handle these situations. I pray you never have to experience what many of us have had to.

Anonymous said...

You get political attention to public safety in Amherst the old-fashioned way:

You elect people to Select Board and Town Meeting who care about it.

Yes, public safety concern is overmatched as a priority in our elected Town Meeting. So wake up.

Anonymous said...

We see what a great eat job that Amherst is doing with their schools. Let's throw more money into that fire!

Stephanie said...

Sorry if that comment was sarcastic.. I don't see the humor. :-/

Anonymous said...

This is apparently one of those very rare occasions where I agree with Ed. UMASS is not the cause of the AFD staffing problem. The fact that there is a major university with thousands of students, faculty, and staff certainly contributes to the call volume, however the department is understaffed 12 months of the year. We only need to look across the river to find a community with a similar population (base population that is...without our students) and call volume to find a department with double the minimum staffing level. If you look around the state at towns that have a similar population and call volume, you will find that AFD staffing is low. While the demand for our services certainly increases with the influx of students, we do not have adequate staffing to meet the demand in a safe manner year round.

Jeff Parr

Anonymous said...

Stephanie said...

"Sorry if that comment was sarcastic.. I don't see the humor. :-/"

That is because there is no humor in the Amherst school system. There is a lot of head shaking and disbelief, but not because of humor.

Anonymous said...

At some point, residents, through their Town Meeting members and their override votes, have to say "no" to ever-increasing per pupil costs, for the simple reason that there are other things including public safety that have to be funded adequately out of our tax checks.

Anonymous said...

Show me an incident that illustrates how pad is understaffed during the summer months. There are no week ends full of drunk 20 somethings. There are no 3000 person drunk mobs. There is a sleep quite little suburban "town." Amherst is not a city, like Northampton. I fully respect the pad but do not believe they are understaffed during the summer.

Anonymous said...

Assuming you mean APD, I agree. They just do a better job than AFD with the PR about their plight.