AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB) – A young man has died in a three alarm fire that tore through an apartment complex.
Firefighters say they got a call around 4:45 a.m. for a fire at the Rolling Green Apartments, which is located along Route 9 about a half mile from Amherst College.
“People were banging on people’s doors telling them there is a fire and to get out,” said Stephanie, resident.
“It was very surreal, you always think it happens to someone else until you are the someone else,” said Chris Horte, resident.
Upon arriving, firefighters found heavy fire coming from the second floor and attic. Crews were ordered evacuated from the building because of the intense flames and a partial collapse of the roof.
For much of the morning, investigators indicated that most residents had made it out safely, but one person remained unaccounted for.
Amherst Assistant Fire Chief Lindsay Stromgren says that a young man was found dead on the second floor of of the apartments.
“We believe it’s a student from UMass. We are working to identify the victim now and working to notify family members,” said Stromgren.
UMass Amherst campus spokesman Ed Blaguszewski released the following statement on the fire:
“We understand, based on information provided by the Amherst Fire Department, that a man died today in a fire at an off-campus condominium building, and that he has been identified as a UMass Amherst student. Official identity of the victim will be made by state officials. This is a terrible tragedy, and we deeply mourn this loss of life. The university is providing support to all UMass students and their families affected by the fire.”
About 30 people have been displaced by the fire and are being assisted by the Red Cross. Twenty of those residents are area college students, and UMass officials are working with the property management to find housing for their effected students.
The cause of the fire, which damaged ten units, remains under investigation.