Arson, homicide units investigate fatal Allston fire

Boston Police report the homicide unit and the Boston Fire arson unit are now both investigating the Sunday-morning fire that left one BU student dead and sent 15 other people - including six firefighters - to the hospital.

The Herald reports Inspectional Services is investigating how 18 people - half of them BU students - came to be crammed into what is officially a two-family house at 87 Linden St. City Councilor and mayoral candidate Mike Ross also wants to know more about the house - he wrote a city ordinance that bars more than four students from living in a single unit.

Boston University today identified the student as Binland Lee, set to graduate in September.



    Free tagging: 


      Candidate Ross can write or

      By on

      Candidate Ross can write or sponsor all the ordinances he likes, but it's pointless passing laws unless there's enforcement. I hope someone is investigating ISD.


      A globe writer can co go undercover as an Allston/Brighton renter, and watch their complaints go unanswered, notice how few cops are assigned in their area, and notice that their landlord probably won't fix a single damn thing...

      Read the writing by the wall

      By on

      You wouldn't even have to go undercover, just start looking a the number of names on most mailboxes as a start on how many people are in each house...

      Would that work for students?

      When I was a student, i got all my mail on campus so I wouldn't have to update mailing addresses every September. Wouldn't your methodology cause a pretty significant under-count?


      By on

      I think that there is the possibility of an undercount, but I think even with that there would be clear evidence that overcrowding is the rule rather than the exception for most of Allston.

      Can you get your mail on campus if you don't have a dorm address? Do you have to have it sent to your department? I seem to recall my address changed as I changed dorms, but that was some time ago.

      Probably depends on the university

      At Brandeis I was assigned a mailbox in the student center before I even showed up, and it was mine until I graduated, even after I moved off campus. When I was on staff, we had mailboxes in the department office for students to use, and at a rough guess >80% used them for personal mail because they were shifting apartments every year or so.

      That's not the problem...

      You can pass all the laws you want. Here's the problem: The building might have been modified from its' original floor plan. This requires permits and inspections. It is illegal to do so without the proper permits.
      If you do work like that and don't follow the state building code and something goes wrong, you're screwed as in involuntary manslaughter screwed.
      The victim was found in the attic. The attic was untenable before the FD got there. Now, for the unconfirmed stuff: Four people living in the attic. There's only one good way out, not two egresses. Three bedrooms walled off in the cellar. Same problem with egresses. There might have been an egress violation from the second to the first floor.
      If the existing building code rules were followed, this might have been prevented.

      It's easier to appear to do

      By on

      It's easier to appear to do something by passing a new law versus actually doing something in enforcing existing laws. ISD is toothless and slumlords are well aware of it. Short of buildings dropping masonry someone's head or a rusty fire escape decapitating someone, nothing will change. Hell, the state has bridges in the city dropping concrete on people and no one seems to do anything about it.

      Poor Little Mike Ross

      By on

      He never had a big house or a sleep over.

      Seriously, though - 4 per unit is a very stupid idea anyway - and the occupation of those who rent is NONE of his business or the city's business, in any case!

      Yay, let's limit it to four nurses, okay? Or, maybe, at most four medical residents. Four waitstaffers or construction workers in Southie, right?

      That's why it isn't enforced - it isn't enforceable. The colleges can't comply with his ninny-arsed requests for info, either, because of FEDERAL LAW.

      These are large units - why are six people with their own bedroom and two or three bathrooms not in compliance and four people cramming into a two bedroom are?

      Mike Ross needs to shut up and get a real job. Or move to Baltimore, where they don't have all these pesky colleges to create jobs.

      Poor Little College Students

      By on

      Mike Ross is trying to get rid of all these situations like this where 10 people live in a 4 bedroom apartment and half of them can't get out during a fire. Not to mention fuck up the neighborhood with their constant parties or fights outside the bars. [yes I generalize but this house specifically did have that reputation]

      Landlords, with but a few exceptions, can not be trusted to act in any way that doesn't maximize their profits since they are mostly scumbag investors.

      College students, with but a few exceptions, can not be trusted to live on their own without supervision [at least an RA] because most of them grew up sheltered and pampered.

      Save the housing for families and people who might care about the neighborhood they live in, and can be trusted not to turn it into a giant urinal. Allston should have an owner occupancy rate well over 50%, and could with some judicious property seizures and no money down mortgages.

      Only one bike courier per unit

      By on

      Even the former and part-time bike couriers count.

      You like that idea?

      There are places that have lots of brick houses and not too many universities. Baltimore comes to mind. Philly, too. You could check that out.

      Oh, yeah, no jobs, though.

      Nice Troll From the Shadows

      By on

      But since you bring it up, it does not matter if they are college students or bike messengers or nurses or chefs or prostitutes. Housing should not be abused with overcrowding rentals. If an apartment has more residents than rooms there is an issue.

      There might be a larger issue at work, such as overly inflated housing costs. But I am sure you won't like my proposed solution to that either. You'll probably post from your anonymous self about how Socialism is bad.

      Mike Ross

      By on

      Mike Ross is trying to get rid of all these situations like this where 10 people live in a 4 bedroom apartment and half of them can't get out during a fire.

      No he's not.

      He's grandstanding on an issue that is probably discriminatory/ illegal at worst, and unenforceable at best. He’s dealing in his MO of hating on students and local colleges to appease the over 50+ crowd that votes for him.

      Case in point; what happened here was already illegal without Mike Ross.

      18 residents in 2 family 6 bedroom was illegal before Mike Ross, and Mike Ross hasn’t found a way to enforce that law. So why the new law? A law that singles out “college students” is about as effective as outlawing the rain.

      What if five 18 year olds decide to live in a 5 bedroom? And if they don’t go to college and work? What about the other examples above? Honestly, the law isn’t being enforced, because the second they try to charge some BU kid with father of even negligible importance, the city is going to have a big fat lawsuit on it’s hands. And Mike Ross's consituents (abd the rest of us) are going to footing that bill.

      And that’s Mike Ross for you. He’d rather yell at clouds, then get into the nitty gritty and hold ISD responsible for enforcing the laws already on the books. He’d rather act concerned and apologetic that property taxes are going up, instead of telling his constituents that they can fix these problems but it’s going to cost even more to pay for more police and inspectors.

      i am going to call this

      the curse of the craigslist killer..

      BU losses according to the article's comment section:
      all in the last year
      3 dead in New Zealand.
      2 dead in traffic accident.
      2 dead in fire.
      1 dead in gun shot.
      1 dead in blast.
      1 dead in fraternity activity
      1 dead in Turkey

      that is crazy

      Not to make light of the situation...

      By on

      But this actually shows us a really LOW death rate. In the age bracket that most undergrads fall into, there should be like 90 deaths per year per 100,000 population. Since BU has about 30,000 students, about 30 should die per year. I'm guessing it's lower because the population of people who are attending college are healthy enough to be attending college, are skewed somewhat lower than average in terms of risky behavior with cars and/or substances, and skew toward socioeconomic groups that have less exposure to community violence and public health risks. Swirlygrrl, does this sound right?

      Accidental death rate

      We don't know how many BU students are expiring from natural or physical causes, but we do see the "accidents". That rate for 15-24 year olds is about 3.9 per 10,000 per year ... about 11-12 expected per year. Assuming the accidental deaths all end up with publicity, then things are as expected, possibly better.

      A good reason for that is lack of car use among BU students and graduate students, generally, which is a huge risk in this age category (and indeed accounts for a fair proportion of the deaths listed above).

      but do you really believe that

      If you asked people at other similar sized universities, they would actually say "oh yeah about 10 or more students a year die around here"?

      you can't actually believe this is a "normal stretch" for BU.

      Hard to compare

      As I just noted, a big killer in this age group is auto accidents. BU isn't immune to those, but student car use is less during the semester than in a comparable rural campus.

      These death rates are very common - three students in one car wreck is very common in more suburban or rural campuses. Drunk drownings, alcohol poisoning, fires, falling off of roofs - surprisingly common.

      Young people rarely drop dead of heart attacks - but death by misadventure is rather common.

      Ever hear the Human Sexual Response song "Andy Fell"? Yeah, that.

      fine i am looking this up

      The results seem to contradict conventional beliefs concerning the number of alcohol-related deaths, he said. Suicides accounted for 6.18 deaths per 100,000 students, while alcohol was a factor in 4.86 deaths per 100,000.

      Overall, the No. 1 cause of death was vehicle accidents, at 6.88 deaths per 100,000, about half of them alcohol-related.

      and none of the ones we have listed were suicides, and those may be less likely to be publicized.