Small Electrical Fire at BU Law Tower Shuts Down Commonwealth Ave.

A Boston firefighter hooks up a hose to the BU Law Tower. A small electrical fire broke out in the basement of the building around 1:30 p.m. Monday. Photo by Erin Wade // BU News Service

By Erin Wade
BU News Service

A small electrical fire broke out in the basement of the BU Law Tower at about 1:30 Monday afternoon, according to a Boston Fire Department spokesman, shutting down Commonwealth Avenue from St. Mary’s Street to the BU Bridge.

The building was evacuated successfully and no one was hurt, fire department officials said.

“Everything went very smoothly. Everyone cooperated,” BFD Spokesman Steve MacDonald said.

Despite the size of the fire, over a dozen firetrucks responded to the scene. MacDonald said more firefighters were called to the scene after the first wave of trucks arrived, but not because extra help was needed to put out the small fire.

“It’s not so much for the size of the fire, because the fire was just confined to one room, but it’s to help evacuate,” MacDonald said.

He said a second alarm was called, which brings about 60 firefighters to the scene and makes it easier to evacuate a large building like the BU Law Tower, where “people might be reluctant to leave.”

One bystander, Shawn Rose, described the scene: “There’s a lot of people everywhere — police officers and fire department. You can kind of smell the flames outside of the building.”

MacDonald said the reason you could smell the smoke, even though it was a small fire, was the source of the flames.

“Electrical fires generate some thick, black smoke that’s kind of nasty to inhale,” MacDonald said.

Firefighters began leaving the scene and several firetrucks pulled away at about 3 p.m. Commonwealth Avenue was then reopened to traffic.

Students were allowed to reenter the building by 3:30 p.m.

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