Amherst apartment building fire displaces tenants

Dave Mathieson
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Fire engulfs the second floor at the back of an apartment building in Amherst April 14.


Firefighters, police and the Red Cross were at the scene of an apartment fire on the corner Dickey and Rupert Streets in Amherst late April 14

The fire started  at about 8:30 p.m. and was contained to an apartment on the second floor. Although the fire didn’t spread, smoke could be seen throughout the building.

“My daughter and me had gone to the store and we just pulled in, and the apartment below ours was on fire,” said Darlene Melanson, who lives on the third floor directly above the fire.

She ran into the apartment before firefighters arrived on the scene.

“I had to run in to get my dog out and there was smoke everywhere. The whole back of the house is gone,” she said. “We lost everything. I’m a single mother and I lost everything.”

Witnesses at the scene say a single male occupied the second floor apartment that caught fire.

The apartment’s maintenance man says everybody got out safely.

“Nobody will be allowed back in tonight,” he said.

He estimates that 16 apartments are currently being rented inside the apartment buidling and hopes people will be able to return to the buidling on Tuesday. 

Melanson was still looking for her cat as firefighters were putting the fire out.

Just as she started to cry about not being able to find her cat, a firefighter carried a fluffy white and grey cat from the apartment building. Melanson ran across the street but, unfortunately for her, it wasn’t her cat.

Another person stranded outside her apartment was Kristie Porter. She has a five-year-old daughter, a three-year-old son, and another baby on the way.

“I just set up all my baby stuff,” she said.

They were watching a movie when they heard sirens.

“We thought it (the sirens) was the movie,” said Porter.

A friend ran downstairs and came back up to tell them the fire department was there.

Porter scooped up her kids and her dog Hydro, and exited the building safely.

Organizations: Red Cross

Geographic location: Amherst

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