Saturday, November 29, 2014

Fireground: 222 Belchertown Road

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

MassLive reports


Anonymous said...

These housing should follow the same bylaw as every other rental houses. 8 tenants maximum for 2 family house. The town will lose its credibility to enforce its bylaw, if it circumvent its own bylaw. Does the town believe the homeless are better tenants than UMass students, or everyone else? So they will not create noises, except some of them may go crazy and ignite a fire to the house? Think about it.

If the town want to circumvent its bylaw, it just should get rid of it altogether, for every rental house.

Anonymous said...

4 unrelated tenant bylaw is discriminatory anyway, especially towards student tenants.

Anonymous said...

Students aren't a "protected class".
Therefore, discrimination is allowed

Anonymous said...

Just create dorm housing and call them farm help, that works already. They said the bylaw wouldn't hold up in court anyway.
What is OK for some is OK for all...

Anonymous said...

The use is a public charity and is expressly excluded under the zoning bylaw from the "4 unrelated" rule.