UMass students arraigned in connection with April fire

The two are due back in court for a pre-hearing on Aug. 6

By Kyle DaLuz, Managing Editor

After a fire in April left 21 University of Massachusetts students without their original housing during the remainder of the spring semester, two students pleaded not guilty in Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown Monday for their involvement.

Laban K. Christenson, 23, and Andrew Ho, 21, were arraigned and face charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, wanton destruction of property over $1,200, burning wood and unlawful possession of fireworks and a miscellaneous fire violation. Ho was also charged with disconnecting a sprinkler system. They were released and are due back in court on Aug. 6 for a pre-trial hearing, per Northwestern District Attorney’s Office Spokeswoman Mary Carey.

The fire, which took place on April 29, occurred at a six-unit rental residence at 285 Main St. and left one man injured. After suffering second and third degree burns and smoke inhalation, the man was released from Bridgeport Hospital after being treated at the Connecticut Burn Center.

UMass offered the students impacted by the fire free on-campus housing, meal plan assistance and academic support.

Kyle DaLuz can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Kyle_DaLuz.