Townehouse Apartments 2:30 PM
Townehouse Apartments 5:30 PM
In the span of just a few hours the crowd of college aged youth at the westernmost green space at Townhouse Apartments in North Amherst grew from a couple dozen to a couple thousand. Fair enough, considering the beautiful spring weather and this being a l-o-n-g holiday weekend.
But when you mix that large a crowd in an enclosed area with copious amounts of alcohol, there's bound to be trouble.
Townehouse Apartments 6:30 PM: plenty of debris available
Around 6:30 PM a 911 call came in reporting a debris fire in the middle of the large crowd. AFD responded and staged until APD, who had already put a mutual aid call to Hadley and Northampton, could secure the area.
Townehouse Apartments 7:00 PM: clean up in aisle 5
And secure it they did, even though outnumbered hundreds to one.
Sunday afternoon, the following day
At the 2013 Blarney Blowout, the year before the one that made national news but still compelling enough to be my "Story of the Year", AFD had to respond to the middle of the crowd for an ETOH (alcohol poisoning) college aged female.
They were greeted with a hail of ice, cans and bottles (some of them full), thus APD was forced to wade in to break things up, resulting in six arrests.
The following year was even worse with 58 arrests resulting in enough national publicity to give the town and UMass a black eye and a renewed sense of purpose about killing the Blarney Blowout.
And in 2015 and 2016 with the assistance of 225 police officers, stern messaging from the University combined with a parking and overnight guest crackdown and a Mullins Center concert, the Blarney Blowout is no more.
But anytime there's nice weather late in the spring semester the potential for an (unnamed) blowout is pretty high.