AFD Engine 2 (the Quint) on scene 222-224 Belchertown Road
APD blocked off busy Belchertown Road (Rt 9)
A fire -- quite possibly arson -- in the 2nd floor rear bedroom of a two family house used to shelter the homeless garnered a swift response from Amherst Public Safety personnel around 6:00 PM this busy Saturday night.
According to scanner traffic the man who fled the bedroom where the fire started was spotted in Cumberland Farms down the road in only his long johns underwear. Another resident said he attempted to put out the blaze with a fire extinguisher but it was too far along.
AFD Engine 1 taps hydrant almost directly in front of 222 Belchertown Road
APD found the possible perpetrator at a bus stop near Colonial Village Apartments and he was transported by AFD to Cooley Dickinson Hospital for a psych evaluation. Otherwise there were no injuries to residents, firefighters or police. The Amherst Building Inspector declared the building uninhabitable.
All off duty firefighters who responded to the box alarm were released around 8:00 PM. An investigator from the State Fire Marshall's office arrived at the scene around 8:25 PM. State and local officials were on scene until 11:00 PM.
Smoke from rear of the building
Ladder 1 on the scene
The Amherst Planning Board is currently deliberating a request from Amherst Community Connections to increase the capacity of the building at 222-224 Belchertown Road from 8 to 24.
AFD Chief Nelson (rt) huddles with Assistant Chief Stromgren
The morning after