3 dozen from Amherst taken to hospital over weekend after heavy drinking

Staff Writer
Published: 9/11/2017 3:24:54 PM

AMHERST — Nearly three dozen people were brought to area hospitals by ambulances from Amherst during the weekend, with more than half needing medical attention due to heavy consumption of alcohol.

Fire Chief Tim Nelson said the ambulance activity is not out of line for the weekend after Labor Day, when many college students are on their own for the first time.

“To be blunt, we expected it to be nuts, and it was,” Nelson said.

But the call volume went beyond the department’s capacity, even with 13 firefighter paramedics on duty, based on financial support from the University of Massachusetts Amherst that allows five ambulances to run at a time.

The peak volume occurred between 1:39 and 1:46 a.m. Saturday, when four mutual aid ambulances were summoned to Amherst to bring intoxicated people to Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton. Three of these patients were from the UMass campus, while one was at Hampshire College.

When all five town ambulances were already out, the department responded to another call with a paramedic on board a fire truck featuring some medical equipment.

“We still responded with out paramedic fire truck, but we couldn’t transport with it,” Nelson said.

There were 18 intoxicated people brought to hospitals over the weekend, including 14 from the UMass campus.

Two of these occurred Saturday afternoon in Lot 11, next to the football stadium, between 3:30 and 4 p.m., after tailgating prior to the UMass-Old Dominion game.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.

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