Three-alarm Allston blaze kills BU student and injures at least 15, including six firefighters
A Boston University student died and 15 people were injured, including two other BU students and six firefighters, when fire tore through a house in Allston early Sunday morning, the university and fire officials said.
The three-alarm blaze quickly spread through the house at 87 Linden St. around 6:30 a.m., Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald said. He said 19 people were living in the house, but not all residents were home. There may have been some guests in the house, he said.
“There was a lot of fire, a lot of black smoke, and a lot of people,” MacDonald said.
Authorities have not identified the woman who died in the fire, but BU officials confirmed that the victim was a student. MacDonald said she was found in the attic of the home. The cause of the fire was not determined Sunday.
In a statement, BU said nine students who attended the school lived in the house and two of them were treated at hospitals for non-life-threatening injuries. Three of the students were not home during the blaze, according to the university, which is providing housing to the dislocated students.
MacDonald said authorities will look into the number of people living in the house.
“It’s up to inspectional services to determine the legality of that,” he said.
A spokeswoman from the Inspectional Services Department said records for the residence were not available Sunday.
The Fire Department reported that all injured firefighters were treated and released from hospitals by Sunday afternoon.
“There are a variety of injuries,” MacDonald said. “Burns, cuts, smoke, exhaustion, the whole gambit.”
A first-responder saw a person jump from a roof to the ground to flee the flames and three others were rescued by firefighters with ladders, MacDonald said.
One firefighter fell through the second floor of the home and had to be rescued, according to MacDonald. He said the Rapid Intervention Team, a crew specifically tasked with rescuing trapped responders, was dispatched to aid that firefighter.
The Fire Department reported that residents said they heard smoke detectors sounding during the blaze.
Firefighters arrived to find heavy flames. MacDonald said crews knocked down the bulk of the blaze by about 7:30 a.m., but continued to douse hot spots for another four hours.
While the building burned, firefighters were forced to evacuate due to fears that the roof would collapse onto them, MacDonald said.
The light gray two-and-a-half-story home was charred black on its upper floors, but was still standing on Sunday. MacDonald said the building sustained an estimated $600,000 in damage.
According to the city assessor’s office, the 87 Linden St. property has 13 rooms, including nine bedrooms, two bathrooms, and two kitchens. The building has steam heat and vinyl siding, according to records listed on the assessor’s website. The assessed property value for this year was $615,500.
Alexander Pobednoz, 24, said he lived in the building under a September-to-September lease in 2009 and 2010. He said the property had been split into two separate apartments, the basement and first floor being one, and the second and attic floors another.
“I didn’t have any issues,” he said about the state of the home. “Nothing as far as the mechanics of the house. I can’t really complain.”
Pobednoz said about 11 or 12 people were living in the building at that time.
The lower apartment had about five bedrooms split between the basement and first floor, said Pobednoz. The upper apartment “had about six or seven bedrooms,” he said.
In January of last year, an early morning fire gutted 84 Linden St., a three-story house across the street, hospitalizing numerous residents, at least seven of them BU students. One of the students was critically injured after leaping out a third-story window to escape the blaze.
After that fire, building inspectors swept the Allston neighborhood over the course of three days. Inspectors and fire officials recorded 82 violations at 25 units located on Pratt, Linden, Gardner, and Ashford streets.
The offenses included overcrowded apartments and rodent infestations.Derek J. Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Zachary T. Sampson can be reached at email@example.com.