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Defective plug strip blamed for Upper Campus fire

(3-24-2000) UPDATED at 5:15 P.M. Investigators from the Newton Fire Department and state Fire Marshal's office say a defective electrical plug strip caused the early morning fire today in an Upper Campus residence hall.

Six students and two Boston College police officers were transferred to local hospitals for treatment of smoke inhalation, but none of the injuries was believed to be serious. Both officers and three of the students have been released.

Newton firefighters quelled the two-alarm blaze that broke out at approximately 5:20 a.m. in the Medeiros Townhouses, a residence hall housing 96 freshmen. Fire crews used ladders to rescue students on the upper floors of the three-and-a-half story building. The fire was confined to the north wing, one of three sections of the dormitory, which houses 37 students.

The University has announced that the 37 students displaced in the blaze have all been relocated through University Housing, as well as offers of accommodation from other undergraduates and parents of local BC students. The students also will be given cash or credit to purchase clothing, toiletries and other necessary items, as well as replace any textbooks or other school-related materials, the University said.

Students residing in the other two wings of Medeiros have now returned to their rooms, administrators said.

University President William P. Leahy, SJ, chaplains, counselors and other BC administrators were at the scene of the fire this morning, providing counseling and assistance to the injured and evacuated students. Counseling will be available to any students who desire it, the University said.

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