AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) - We still don't know what caused a fire that killed one UMass student at the Rolling Green Apartments in Amherst.
The January fire killed one student and left dozens others homeless. Amherst Fire Chief Tim Nelson told 22News they believe the fire started on the second floor but still don't know what caused it. Chief Nelson says the investigation is now in the hands of the state's Fire Marshals Office. Campus Firewatch publisher Ed Comeau told 22News four out of five campus-related fire deaths happen off-campus.
10 units at the Rolling Green complex are now in the process of being rebuilt. Chief Nelson says crews will install a sprinkler system, a new alarm fire detection system and fire separation walls from the ground to the roof.
“It will create a barrier from the fire spreading horizontally,” said Comeau. “But part of the other thing that's more important than that, is that this building will now have an automatic fire sprinkler system. Unquestionably, an automatic fire sprinkler system will make the difference between life and death.”
Comeau says students should always make sure to have a working fire alarm, and know at least two ways out in case of an emergency.