One dead, fifteen injured in Allston house fire

Fire on Linden Street, Allston

Linden Street fire. Photo by BFD.

The Boston Fire Department reports a fire that broke out around 6:30 a.m. at 87 Linden St. killed one resident, injured nine more and sent six firefighters to the hospital. BU Today reports the dead person was a BU student.

The Boston Fire Department says the injured residents and firefighters are expected to live. The department reports one resident jumped out a window to escape the flames; three others were brought down on ladders.

WBZ reports three firefighters were injured falling from the second to the first floor.

The fire burst through the roof. Around 7:15, all firefighters were ordered out of the 2 1/2-story wood-frame building.

The Red Cross reports several of the house's 19 residents were Boston University students. The Red Cross says it is helping four students replace their clothing - and is helping meet the needs of a cat that also lived in the house. Boston University is assisting the students find alternative housing.

The fire is across the street from the scene of a fire in January, 2012 that sent one resident to the hospital in critical condition after he jumped from a window.

Linden Street fire from the front. Photo by BFD.Linden Street fire from the front. Photo by BFD.



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So when's the city going to

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So when's the city going to give ISD some teeth and go after slumlords? What's it going to take? Another massive fire escape collapse?

Linden St fire

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My daughter lived in that very house about 4 years ago, while doing community service in Boston area. It was full of code violations then and the owner did nothing about them. I feel sorry for that BU student.

Not only should they have gone after these slumlords,

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but the city should really crack down...hard, on the colleges and universities in the area and stop their continued encroachment on nearby neighborhoods once. and. for. all!

I've already pointed this out in another post, but it bears repeating here: By continuing to encroach on nearby neighborhoods with impunity, the colleges and universities make the neighborhoods in question quite vulnerable to slumlords moving in and creating horrifically dangerous and unsafe living conditions.

I think you need to take a

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I think you need to take a step back and not blame when you don't know. For all we know this could have been an electrical fire, or a gas fire or something else. I live across the street and know those people, so stop acting like you're all that and start listening to the facts because they haven't all been presented yet.

Even if it was a ciggy ...

The fact is that there either wasn't sufficient warning or means of preventing the spread of the fire to allow the residents to escape.

So, either the place is a fire trap and/or it didn't have a functional alarm system.


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smoke detector alarms were heard, according to the article but if one is in a deep, deep, post party sleep...

I wonder if the poor young woman who was caught up in the attic had no real means of rear egress. I see a back porch that leads off the second floor (photo of the rear of the house) but I don't see any ladder from the attic floor.

The article mentions that this place had folks living in the basement and attic which, in may instances, are illegal if there are not two ways of exiting in case of fire. But I don't want to make assumptions. Very unfortunate but glad that more folks were not hurt.

From what I understand,

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if you're talking about the 87 Linden Street fire in Allston, it was a combination of both. That poor woman (Binland Lee), however, was clearly trapped, with no way of escaping. It's possible that those circumstances, combined with the carelessness of a smoker, helped bring this fire about, as well, however.

I'm glad inspectional

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I'm glad inspectional services "sweeped" Allston and its slumlords after the fire last year (plus the fire on Quint Ave). The government needs to crack down on Allston, students don't deserve to live in dangerous housing.

I'm so glad we're not fixing the root of the problem...

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...BU and northeastern not required to provide on-campus housing for their students, combined with no caps on their student populations. Really, nothing stops them from growing their student populations save how much they can pack them into lecture halls.

All of this is because NU and BU are greedy and forcing too many students on our city, while not paying a dime in taxes*. Allston is just a symptom of the overcrowding.

*and the students aren't paying much in taxes, either. For example, how many students register their vehicles in MA?

There should be a state law that requires a fixed minimum percentage of students housed on college property. The percentage should start at a level all schools can meet currently, and increase slightly each year.

In FY 2013, BU will make

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In FY 2013, BU will make $5,579,598 in PILOT payments, which may not technically be taxes, but are certainly more than a dime.

That said, I agree that BU should be paying $57,647,743 it would be paying if not an educational institution. Boston University does not run itself like a nonprofit and should be expected to pay taxes like all other businesses in the city.


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But if they live off campus, that property is subject to tax. If they were moved back on campus to tax free property, wouldn't that reduce city tax revenue, not increase it?

Only if the property lies fallow

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And falls apart and it's reassessed. In some cities, that might be an issue, but I'm suspecting that in Boston, even in Allston, most landlords are not going to just walk away from income property. They just won't be stuffing 17 people into a building assesed as, say, a two-family house.

BU guarantees

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on-campus housing for all four years. The university doesn't force kids off campus, but it can't really force them to stay on campus, either.

Back in the day

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It used to be that if you got financial aid- you had to stay in university housing. This does cut two ways, many students do stay on campus (I don't think any BU housing is vacant...) but it does mean that the students living in the neighborhood will only be those getting no aid at all, and more likely to be interested in parties, and have the means to do so.

I guess you were never a

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I guess you were never a college student yourself? Get outta here, a struggling college student is expected to register their vehicle, when most still use their parent's address as their residence...go over yourself, or better yet, go read a book.

a lot to unpack there

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1 - haven't read this is a student issue, but ok, I'll defer to someone with knowledge of this house/'hood.

2 - universities pay PILOT - AND some of them, INCLUDING BU and NU, pay hefty taxes as well (see the city assessor's website if you're honestly interested). (And employ a lot of locals, provide community programs and services, purchase locally and have employees and students who spend buckets of cash in the city every day - but, sure, let's consider them a drain on Boston.)

3 - students don't pay taxes the same way any renter doesn't pay taxes. They pay property owners who pay the taxes. Maybe a lot of students don't register their cars here (expensive insurance), but I know a lot of South Enders, to take one tiny sliver of Bostonians, who don't have cars either because of the expense. When do we start booting them out?

4 - Adam G is right, in part - property owners won't (immediately) abandon income property if all students suddenly disappear. However, they're also going to be discomfited by sharply lower rents that arguably follow from the student disappearance - and, because assessment is based on sale information, and sale price is based in part on income stream, the "value" of these properties will continue to decline along with the revenues. What outcomes could we posit from this? Landlords who bought at the top of the market walking away because their revenues don't cover their mortgages and taxes. Condo conversions in neighborhoods where that's possible - cashing out. Or a desire to pack in the same number of bodies of non-students, as we do see in some buildings in Boston and even the near suburbs. On the other hand, those who just bite the bullet and accept lower revenues will eventually be paying lower property taxes to Boston - to house renters who may be putting a burden on the public purse by having school-aged children, which students don't (nor do they use elder services or, sadly, tie up election officials very much).

5 - set a minimum for on-campus housing, sure, that's probably reasonable enough. Bump it up every year? Tell me, who in Boston can get an apartment building (which is what a dorm is) opened every year, financially or bureaucratically?

BU will just buy up more

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BU will just buy up more neighborhood housing stock and turn it into dorms. They did it to Audubon Circle in the 1980s and would be more than happy to continue the practice the next time the city is looking the other way. A good portion of BU's on campus housing numbers are from this usurped residential housing stock.

Sounds Good to Me

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Have you actually seen the cost of housing in Boston lately? We have a real shortage of moderately priced space to live. (Note that I did not say "affordable." This is an important distinction.) If less students in Metro Boston causes property values to decline city wide and thereby results in lower rents for all properties (as opposed to an arbitrary percentage of properties designated "affordable"), in turn making the city more accessible to everyone, then that's a good thing even if it results in temporary economic pain for a certain cross-section of the population (that being landlords.)

Where were you 30 years ago?

You know - when the city and non-student residents of the neighborhoods most impacted by students fought tooth and nail to prevent the universities from building that sorely needed dorm space?

Yeah. That.

Mike Ross still whines, moans, and makes derpy noises whenever any university wants to build anything - including dorms.

Students Not Wanted Here

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Well in Mike Ross's defense that is because he wants BU to not keep expanding its enrollment, so they don't need to keep Borg'ing up the neighborhood for more dorms OR need to have students off campus. BU should say - we have x dorm rooms on campus so that is the number of students we will have period - and that number will never change ever from now to the end of time. Thus allowing Allston to maybe become something better than the boozy trash hole it is now.


the slumlords are also to blame for the increase in residential burglary in Allston/Brighton. The last time the BPD held them accountable the problem decreased and now it is back. Poor management, not tracking who gets keys, not fixing doors etc.. has made the neighborhood unsafe.

Here's a big part of the rub, imho, anon:

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The fact that the colleges and universities in this area, especially BU, have continued to encroach on nearby neighborhoods with impunity have made it possible for all this horrendous stuff to happen. Nobody, whoever they may be, deserves to live in dangerous, unsafe, overcrowded hellholes with numerous health, sanitation and safety code violations, but it's the college and universities who've helped put such students in dangerous and risky positions by their constant neighborhood encroachment, making neighborhoods vulnerable for these slumlords to move in, take advantage of the whole situation, and create what are aptly called "student ghettoes."

curse of the Craigslist killer

is it just me, or do lots of BU students seem to be dying? whether it is bike on car/bus accidents, overdoses, homicides, or whatever else... i swear they are cursed

Doesnt seem to effect other students

It seems NEU, Harvard, MIT, Tufts, Suffolk, and Emerson students aren't dying constantly. These universities are all in more congested areas or have more students, yet I don't hear any university having more deaths than BU.

Shear Numbers of Students

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MIT only has 5,000 undergrads - BU has at least 10X that many.

Tufts students died in fires some years ago and Medford, at least, brought the hammer down on illegal apartments. The fire department went door-to-door in Hillside and inspected garages and other large detached structures, as well as attics for illegal residences. My friend was asked to open up his workshop/kayak shed and show that there wasn't anyone living there.

BU has ~16,000 undergrad give

BU has ~16,000 undergrad give or take a few hundred depending on the past 4 years class size. That's quite a bit less than "at least 10x that many".

I write this not to make any stance for or against the argument of BU student dying. Just want the right information to be out there and to be interpreted for better or worse.

Though, I must admit, with the bombing and now the fire. It really highlights a sense of danger lately.

With the gaggles of them who

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With the gaggles of them who wander across Comm Ave against the light without looking, I'm surprised more of them aren't killed.


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It was a cigarette butt. I know one of the BU residents that lived here through his sister, whom of which i go to school with. They are being provided temporary housing and meal plans by the university and other small necessities.


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As a broke college student, I can promise the problem isn't that college kids can't get on campus housing. The problem is that housing is way too expensive, dorms included. There's no reason 19 people would live together unless they couldn't afford it otherwise. I'm sick of paying $1000 a month and commuting an hour to avoid having to live in unsafe, illegal conditions.

YES. Ironically, when

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YES. Ironically, when students and broke young singles are willing to live 3-4 to a room and in closets & attics, it allows the individuals to pay less while allowing the building as a whole to rent for more. This is one way rents get driven up so high in Allston while the living conditions get worse-- the only way to afford a home here is to cram as many people into the house as possible. The students are a captive audience because all the other nearby neighborhoods are priced WAY out of their range-- Brookline? Cambridgeport? Back Bay? Allston is the cheapest neighborhood in BU's range but that's mostly because the slumlords will look the other way when you send them 15 checks for rent on a 9 person lease, not because the rent rates are affordable.

What the frig! Let me say it,

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What the frig! Let me say it, nice job to the firefighters for doing a hell of a job. I hope you and the others recover from your injuries. Keep up the good work in spite of the chronic complainers who overlook what you do. Oh yea, one more thing, Boston University.....grrrrrrrrr


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Jesus Christ. Someone lost their life and you assholes are sitting here arguing about landlords, property taxes, motor registry and other ridiculous shit all conjured on things that ARENT true.

First of all, this article has so many things wrong. I know all the people who lived at this house and have spent a lot of time there. There were not 19 people living at the house so all you idiots talking about inspection and housing regulations should shut the hell up. There were two separate apartments and there happened to be 19 people at the time of the fire. One roommate had three of his friends over from out of town just to give you an idea of how blown up this 19 residency number is.

And the whole thing about the cigarette butt, posted by some one who knows someone who lives there through their sister. PLEASE. You obviously don't know anything because none of the roommates know how it happened because it began when they were all ASLEEP. The people who were there weren't avid cigarette smokers and are certainly more responsible than to fall asleep with a cigarette butt in their hand. Most of them are still in the hospital in hysterics. And as of right now, not even the fire department can determine the cause of the fire so how would anyone else know? If it had been something as simple as a cigarette butt it would've been declared by now.

And so far BU is full of bullshit! Nothing has been done for any of the students living there so far. None of them even knew BU would be helping them with housing or clothing. The only way they knew was by looking at articles online because no one from the University or Red Cross contacted them. Granted, BU and the Red Cross may want to wait a couple of days and allow them to get over their shock of their house burning down and their friend dying, but to state that they're currently assisting them is a total lie.

And you vultures who use tragedy to squabble over your petty agendas, please reflect on yourselves. NOT one of you expressed any sort of condolences for the victims or for the person who lost her life!

Ah Yes

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We shouldn't even CONSIDER discussing ANYTHING because somebody ALWAYS just DIED!

Right. Sure.

We shouldn't EVER discuss FACTORS RELATED to somebody JUST DYING because SOMEBODY JUST DIED.

Right. Sure. Nothing about hazardous conditions. Nothing about building codes, nothing about egress, nothing about alarm systems not working ... nope. SOMEBODY DIED, and that makes actually talking about the factors involved in that death a petty agenda!

Right. Sure. Does it ever occur to you "can't talk about anything ever" people that people KEEP DYING because NOBODY is allowed to talk about it?

I say this as somebody who had a friend who once lived in that building, and as somebody who will be sending a kid off to college next year: TALK ABOUT IT PLEASE!

You cant discuss the factors

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You cant discuss the factors that caused thia because YOU DO NOT know! There is nothing corrobating the slumlord theory or the cigarette butt theory. If anyone had any PROOF then it would be a different story but noone does!

Im saying this as the friend of the person who died! So dont lecture me! If theres anyone here who wants someone to take responsibility for what happened it would be me. But all of your arguments are based on conjectures. Save it for when the fire department can determine the cause of the fire. Once there is a proven cause theres absolutely nothing wrong with talking about it to spread the word.

And my.main point is you people could be a little considerate and express condolences before arguing.

if you were friends with the deceased...

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... then let me offer you some words of advice -- step away from the internet for a few days. grieving is hard, and takes energy, and folks arguing or conversing on news sites, message boards, and other random social communities are just going to deplete that much needed energy. save your efforts for coping and helping others cope.

my condolences on your loss.