Two arraigned on charges related to April fire in Amherst

(Western Mass news photo)

We're learning more about the impact of a fire that tore through an apartment complex housing UMass Amherst students over the weekend.

At least 20 students were forced from their homes, and one person was sent to the hospital with burns; all of this just days before the start of finals.

An initial call reported fireworks being set off at that apartment building on Main Street in Amherst around 3 a.m. Sunday, and fire officials said they are still investigating what caused that fire. Now, the faculty of UMass are working with the students who lived at the apartment and the Greek life on campus is stepping up to help some of their own who lost most of their possessions. Police reported heavy fire coming from the third floor which lead fire crews to get to work.

With the help of several surrounding towns the fire was knocked down in a half hour, with one person being taken to the hospital for burns and breathing in smoke. Those 20 residents, who are all UMass students are mostly seniors. Three are members of the sorority Sigma Delta Tau. "They were able to go back to the apartment and a a lot of things were ruined. Anything we can do to help them has really meant a lot to them," said Maxine Wiesenfeld. Wiesenfeld said she knows the three young women well as members of her chapter. As the president of the Panhellenic Council she appealed to fellow Greek life chapters for help.

Within hours of the fire Wiesenfeld said they had hundreds of dollars in aide.

The dean of students reached out to the 20 residents to offer alternative housing in the north apartments for the rest of the semester, along with meal plan aide. With only two weeks away from commencement, the faculty at UMass are working with the students impacted by this fire. "I think it says a lot about the bond we have here as Greeks because the help has been from all different chapters from Greek and non Greek as well," said Wiesenfeld.

Western Mass News has reached out for an update on the condition of the fire victim who was hospitalized with burns, but there is no word on their condition at this time.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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