Hyannis resident pleads guilty to charges related to Amherst apartment fire

Fire left one injured and 21 without a home in 2018


(Collegian file photo)

By Will Mallas, Assistant News Editor

Hyannis resident Andrew Ho pleaded guilty in Hampshire Superior Court Tuesday to charges related to a 2018 Amherst apartment fire.

Ho, 23, admitted to “one count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury and four counts of wanton destruction of property over $1,200,” according the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office.

The apartment fire occurred at 285 Main St. on April 29, 2018, leaving 21 residents without a home and injuring one person.

Assistant District Attorney Matthew Thomas, the prosecutor of the case, said Ho videotaped himself setting off fireworks inside an apartment and posted the video on Snapchat. Ho later told police he had set the fireworks then left the apartment without realizing the burning embers from the fireworks remained, according to Thomas.

“The defendant’s foolish actions caused former residents of the apartments continued psychological harm,” Thomas said in a press release from the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office. “That they didn’t result in one or more deaths is thanks to the efforts of firefighters and police.”

Hampshire Superior Court Judge Richard Carey sentenced Ho to two years of probation and restitution payments to the landlord of the apartment. Ho was also sentenced to two years of probation from the assault and battery charge, which is “to be served concurrently.”

Ho was arraigned along with Laban K. Christenson in June of 2018. Ho initially plead not guilty.

Immediately following the fire, the University of Massachusetts reached out to students affected by the fires. Eighteen students were given housing in North Apartments, while three other students found housing at their sorority house, Sigma Delta Tau.

“It was a hell of an experience to go through,” Megan Kacenski, a resident of the apartment, told the Collegian in a May 5, 2018 article. “It hasn’t been a week yet, since this has all happened. It feels like it’s been months. These days have just been incredibly long.”

Will Mallas can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @willmallas.