A fire at an off-campus apartment complex last month near the University of Massachusetts-Amherst left many students without a home and one dead, but officials have yet to determine a cause two weeks later.
James “Jake” Hoffman, 21, was killed in the blaze, which started in the early morning hours on Jan. 21. The Daily Collegian reported Monday that Hoffman was buried in Stoughton, Mass. wearing a Students Alliance for Israel headband along with a miniature Israeli flag.
Emergency responders arrived on the scene at 4:45 a.m. on Jan. 21, finding smoke and flames coming from the front of the building. Officials believe the started in Hoffman's apartment , the Amherst Bulletin reports. Two of Hoffman's roommates escaped the unit.
Around 30 people in the 10-unit condominium complex were displaced by the fire and assisted by the American Red Cross, WWLP reports. Eighteen UMass students now must find new residences, according to University spokesperson Ed Blaguszewski.
According to the Daily Collegian, residents reported waking to a loud boom and banging doors. Officials have still not released an official cause of the blaze. The fire marshal's office said smoke alarms were present and operated at the time of the fire. An investigation is ongoing.