UMass student saves businesses from possible fire

A UMass student prevented a possible fire at Amherst Eco Laundry after noticing smoke as she was driving.


By Maria Elena Little Endara, Assistant Social Media Editor

Amherst Eco Laundry, located on 326 College St., was saved from a possible fire on March 6 by University of Massachusetts student Amelia Porter.

Porter, a junior kinesiology major, was coming back from her shift at Sunset Grill & Pizza at approximately 2:20 a.m. when she noticed “smoke going across the road” as she was driving.

After feeling as if something was out of the ordinary, Porter said she quickly turned around and pulled into the lot to get a closer look.

“I didn’t see any flames so I called the Amherst police and told them that the room was full of smoke and that there was a weird smell but no flames,” said Porter.

According to an article in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, firefighters got to the laundromat at 2:26 a.m., where they found the source of the smoke to be one of the dryers in the laundromat. There was “no active fire and no damage to the building from the smoke,” the Gazette reported.

Porter’s quick thinking and call to the fire department had business owners in the plaza, including at Amherst Eco Laundry and Neighbor Food Mart, deeming her a hero. Steve Patel, the owner of Neighbor Food Mart, said if Porter hadn’t spotted the smoke, he could have lost his entire business.

“I’m the guy that works next door, I would have lost $5,000. I have Indian groceries, cigarettes, all that,” says Patel.

“Thank God for the girl, I wish I’d seen that girl,” he added. “A lot of people drive by and smell it and they’re like okay whatever, if they don’t see anything. What she did is really amazing, we are 50 ft away from the building.”

But Porter believes that anyone else in her position would have done the same.

“If I’m being honest, I don’t like the attention of being called a hero because I don’t think that it took any extra effort for me to do what I did,” Porter admitted. “But at the same time, looking at it from a different perspective…I can understand that if I hadn’t called, it could’ve been a really detrimental situation for a lot of people.”

Maria Elena Little Endara can be reached at [email protected]