Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Fatal fire in Amherst remains under investigation

Jennifer Mieth, a spokeswoman for the state fire marshal’s office, said state investigators, local authorities and staff of the Northwestern District Attorney’s office are all involved.

“It’s still a very active investigation,” she said.

James “Jake” Hoffman, a UMass senior from Stoughton, was identified as the student who perished in the fire. Five units were gutted and another five damaged in the complex at 422 Belchertown Road. The complex is owned by GPT-RG Amherst LLC, a company under Equity Residential, which is a real estate investment firm based in Chicago. The company acquired the property in 2000 for $6.5 million.

Mieth said investigators are using forensic evidence from the scene and interviews with those who escaped. She wouldn’t give a timetable for when the investigation will be complete, saying, “Every investigation takes its own time.”

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