Six Boston University students escaped unharmed after two separate fires spread along the same outside wall of their three-story house at 50 Ashford St. early Sunday morning, forcing fire fighters to eventually tear down the entire wall.
Boston Fire Department extinguished the first ‘trash fire,’ which broke out around 4 a.m. and spread along the wall of the house, officials said. BU Police Department Sgt. Jeffrey Burke said they received report of the second fire along the same wall at 6:32 a.m. BFD is currently investigating the cause of the second fire.
‘All six of us were asleep in the house when the fire happened,’ Jonathan Millar, one of six residents present out the seven that live in the house, said. ‘We’re not really sure why it started or who did it, but we’ll find out soon.’
Millar, a School of Management sophomore, reported both fires. He said he reported the second one after he heard the ‘crackling of the fire’ and the smoke alarm.
‘The fire came in on the outside and by the time the fire department got there the fire was in the wall, so they had to tear the whole wall down,’ Millar said. ‘My desk was up against the wall so my books were ruined, my TV was ruined and everything was wet.’
College of Arts and Sciences senior Michael Held said he was asleep for both fires.
‘The first fire did not cause structural damage, but the second did,’ he said. ‘The landlord and the inspectional services department in Boston are dealing with repairing the house. We have homeowners insurance, and they are coming up with the appraisal.’
Held said he managed to escape with some of his belongings as well.
BFD spokesman Steve McDonald said the information regarding the fire was with the Saturday shift, so he was unable to access the information by press time. Fire department officials were unavailable for comment despite multiple phone calls.’
CAS junior and resident Chris Santarelli said he assumes the fire was caused by some electrical problem. Santarelli is a former Daily Free Press columnist.
Boston Police Department spokesman David Estrada said BFD is conducting further investigations.
Associate Dean of Students John Weldon said he was one of the first to arrive at the scene after the fire and focused solely on the safety of the students and housing issues.’
‘I got a call from BUPD, and they told me at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday that there was a fire on Ashford Street in a house occupied by seven BU students,’ Weldon said.
Weldon said he spoke to five of the residents in the morning and was able to contact the others throughout the day to make sure they were safe. BU professors were notified of the incident in order to accommodate for any academic discrepancies, he said.
Weldon said he offered the students various options for short and long-term housing, and the students said they will contact him tomorrow.
‘ ‘From my knowledge, they are staying with their friends off-campus,’ Weldon said. ‘It is off-campus, so we don’t get involved that much, but we help them in regards to housing and safety issues.’
Santarelli said they will probably go through BU to relocate until the summer.
‘We can’t go back there any time soon,’ Millar said. ‘They actually started rebuilding the wall, and it might be done in a few weeks. But as of right now, nobody’s living there.’
Staff writer Ellie Choi contributed to the reporting of this story.