McGuirk Stadium attracted upwards of 20,000
Yes with Umass annual Homecoming turbo charged by the return of football to a sold out McGuirk Stadium, the ever popular Apple Harvest Festival in town center, alongside the usual well attended Farmers Market, our little college town was pretty much bursting at the seams Saturday.
The Homecoming Parade started at the Haigis Mall at 11:00 AM and wound its way through most of the town center, although they took a right on Amity Street instead of finishing further south on the town common as they did last year.
AFD Engine 3 and Chief Nelson (black SUV) try to maneuver through parade
Only minutes after the parade hit the downtown a smoke alarm for a minor fire on the 10th floor of the UMass Campus Center brought a screaming response from Engine 3 at Central Station.
At first the lights flashing and horn bellowing seemed to be just part of the festivities, but when Chief Nelson in his black SUV maneuvered around the engine you could tell it was the real thing.
One of numerous calls AFD responded to at McGuirk Stadium
Crowd problems would roil AFD for the rest of the day, both at sold out McGuirk Stadium and again around midnight back at the UMass Student Union for a fire (false) alarm.
The morning started off badly for always beleaguered Amherst Police as they responded to a call from a woman at the North Amherst Mill River Recreation area reporting a Hispanic male "exposing his genitals".
APD seeking perp who exposed himself at Rec area this morning. Reportedly also acted inappropriately on UMass bus system recently.
— Larry Kelley (@amherstac) September 27, 2014
The officer caught up with him but the (alleged) pervert put up a fight while making his escape. The officer suffered a broken hand from the impact of a champagne bottle the perp was drinking from (at 9:30 AM!).
Later officers spotted the aggressor in town center and once again he put up a fight, breaking the hand of yet another officer with a kick, which will no doubt bring the charge of "assault with a dangerous weapon, a shod foot" in addition to A & B on a police officer.
Two weeks ago another two Amherst police officers suffered debilitating injuries dealing with uncooperative assailants. Thus a department stretched to the breaking point for lack of staffing, is now stretched even further.
Amherst Police would be kept busy for the rest of the night responding to noise complaints all over town as the summer like weather brought out foot traffic in droves.
AFD had to respond numerous times to McGurik Stadium for a variety of emergencies above and beyond the expected overly intoxicated calls, although one ETOH case, where the young man was passed out in his locked car on such a hot day could have been a disaster.
AFD on scene between Campus Center and Student Union near midnight for ETOH female
A more troubling incident occurred at the Student Union just after midnight after an ambulance was called for an intoxicated college aged female. Almost simultaneously an alarm was pulled at the Student Union which was hosting a popular event that had attracted many hundreds of students.
AFD Engines 2 & 3 at UMass Student Union around midnight last night
The evacuation sounded disorderly at best, and I detected some hesitation on the part of UMass officials to alert AFD as our fire engines had already responded in force 12 hours earlier to a fire at the adjacent Campus Center. Plus we had an ambulance on scene just then for a drunk student.
Even more chilling, however, it sounded like some exit doors had been locked preventing the easy flow of patrons out of the building. Many of those that did evacuate congregated in front of the Student Union making it hard for the two fire engines to maneuver into place.
Within an hour the usual chilling scenario manifested itself as AFD had to rely on Northampton FD to come transport a drunk Amherst College student to the hospital as all five of our ambulances were busy.
Northampton FD responding to Amherst College via mutual aid for intoxicated student, as all five AFD ambulances are now occupied.
— Larry Kelley (@amherstac) September 28, 2014
Again the nightmare inducing scenario is for fire to chose that most inopportune moment to go on a feeding frenzy in, say, deep South Amherst.
Although fire is always nothing if not inopportune.