AFD battles fires at Hampshire Athletic Club and Muddy Brook Farm this weekend

Three horse causalities were reported


(Collegian file photo)

By Abigail Charpentier, News Editor

The Amherst Fire Department responded to two large fires this weekend at Hampshire Athletic Club late Friday night and at Muddy Brook Farm early Sunday morning.

The horse farm on 646 West St. was destroyed in a fire that was reported shortly before 6 a.m. on Sunday. According to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, three out of the nine horses were killed, however, all three occupants exited the building safely.

Fire Chief Walter “Tim” Nelson stated to the Gazette the Amherst, Northampton, Hadley and Pelham fire departments responded to the call and used a defensive attack to put down the flames. An investigation is being conducted.

“The really hard part begins now when we try to find the cause and origin,” Nelson said to MassLive.

The farm consisted of a barn, workshop and attached apartment. A building that had stalls, the school horse tack room, a feed room, a boarder trunk area and the apartment was knocked down on Sunday afternoon.

Since the fire, Sarah Clancy has organized a GoFundMe that raised over $19,000 of its $20,000 goal.

“Every barn has years and years of memories, hard work and friendships that would never have existed if it weren’t for the animals we love so much,” Clancy wrote for the page. “The expenses that come up after a fire are purely devastating and often not completely covered by insurance.  Your support is incredibly meaningful and as horse people, we all know how hard the loss of our teammates can hit.”

Assistant Fire Chief Lindsay Stromgren reports AFD received a call for a fire at the Hampshire Athletic Club at 90 Gatehouse Road at 11 p.m. Friday night. Nine firefighters were on duty at the time and the box alarm was sounded, signaling all on-duty and off-duty Amherst firefighters.

According to a press release written by Stromgren, heavy smoke was coming from the three-story, wood–framed building. No occupants were present at the time.

“The first crew forced entry and advanced a hose line into the building where they encountered heavy fire in the lobby area,” he explained. “Crews proceeded to extinguish the fire in the lobby and worked their way to where the fire appears to have started in the laundry room behind the front desk. The roof was cut open above the fire to vent smoke and heat from the building.”

A firefighter was taken to the hospital and released shortly after. The building suffered extensive damage and will be closed indefinitely. An investigation is ongoing and as of Nov. 2, there was no cost estimate for repairs.

Abigail Charpentier can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @abigailcharp.