Close to 100 people affected by Amherst apartment fire - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Close to 100 people affected by Amherst apartment fire

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A four-alarm fire ripped through part of an apartment complex on Saturday evening.

Amherst Fire Chief Tim Nelson said that crews first arrived just before 5 p.m. to the Southpoint apartment complex on East Hadley Road.

He said heavy fire and smoke could be seen coming from the rear of the third floor in building 97 of the complex.

Nelson said police were able to evacuate all residents, and it took nearly three hours before the fire was under control.

Nelson said 36 families were affected by the fire, which he said equates to about 100 people.

Residents there said it is a devastating loss.

"I smelled smoke and I just thought someone was grilling," said Claudelle Henley.  "Then I looked out, and someone said that the building was on fire. This is a mixed neighborhood. Most people here are a little affluent, [but] there are people that are lower income. And there are people that are students that are thousands and thousands of miles away from home, and they probably lost everything."

Nelson said two firefighters had to be treated for heat- and smoke-related injuries.

He said another banged up his elbow and will be out for a day or so.

In all, 14 towns contributed mutual aid for either fire or emergency services.

Nelson said they do not know the cause of the fire yet.

It is currently being investigated by the Amherst Fire Department, the Amherst Police Department, as well as the state fire marshal's office.

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