Hampshire expects quick return to dorm after fire

Last modified: Tuesday, October 29, 2013

AMHERST — Most of the 44 Hampshire College students displaced by a Sunday afternoon fire should be able to move back into their dormitory in the next couple of days, according to a college spokeswoman.

College officials are also praising the campus police officer who was briefly hospitalized for smoke inhalation after helping get students out of the building.

In an open message to Officer David Arroyo, Hampshire College President Jonathan Lash wrote, “On behalf of the entire community I want to thank you for risking your own safety to protect others, and wish you a complete and speedy recovery from the effects of the smoke.”

Hampshire College spokeswoman Elaine Thomas said Monday that Arroyo was treated and released from the hospital.

Thomas said the fire appears to have begun on a porch outside the Greenwich House dormitory about 4:15 p.m. and spread up the side of the building.

All 44 students have found other housing accommodations on campus in the meantime, Thomas said.

Five students who resided in the most heavily damaged section of the building may have to wait a few days longer before moving back in while water and smoke damage is cleaned up, Thomas said.

According to the Amherst Fire Department, the fire began when “smoldering materials” left on the wooden porch ignited boxes and other items.

Firefighters said fire damage was contained to the apartment where the fire began. Other units sustained smoke and water damage.

Thomas said fires on the campus of the 43-year-old college are rare and it has probably been about a decade since the last one.

Thomas said classes resumed as usual Monday morning.

In addition to the Amherst Fire Department, Hampshire’s student volunteer engine company responded to the blaze. Firefighters were at the scene until about 7 p.m. Sunday.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@gazettenet.com.


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