Hampshire county fires leave families homeless

The fire was under control within a half hour

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Several people are without a place to stay after fires overnight in two Hampshire county towns.

Several fire departments were called to 95 East Pleasant Street in Amherst just after 5:00 Sunday morning for a fire at a two family building.

The family that lived on the first and second floor were away in Florida for the season, but a mother and father slept on the second floor and their ten year old boy slept on the third floor. Their daughter was staying at a friend’s house for the night.

Diana Corley of Amherst told 22News, “When I first woke up I was just freaked out for my family I didn’t know like if they were okay and all that. I’m just glad they are okay.”

The fire was under control within a half hour.

Firefighters said the cause was electrical. The fire started on the third floor and moved down to the second. Firefighters said the only reason the family was able to make it out alive is because there were smoke detectors involved.

Amherst Fire Chief Tim Nelson said the fire must have been burning for an hour moving around the perimeter of the house, working it’s way through the space between floors, before the family was woken up by their alarm to see smoke and flames coming out of their walls.

Amherst fire chief, Tim Nelson stressed the importance of smoke detectors saying, “I really can’t say enough about how important it is to have working smoke detectors.”

Firefighters also worked for hours overnight to put out a house fire in Westhampton.

Westhampton fire Chief Chris Norris told 22news, firefighters were called to 5 south road around 10:30 Saturday night for a house fire.

When they got there, flames and heavy smoke were coming from the first and second floors of the home.

According to Chief Norris, no one was home when the fire started, and no firefighters were injured while putting out the flames.

Firefighters are still trying to determine what started the fire in the first place. A website is being set up for donations to the family that escaped the fire in Amherst.