A student suffered minor burns on his fingers and a mantelpiece became charred last night in an Adams House fire that was contained to one room.
Occupants of Adams A, B, and C entries evacuated their House at 7:10 p.m. and remained outside for nearly half an hour before officials from the Cambridge Fire Department determined the structure was safe for reentry.
"The room was filled with smoke, but the windows were open so it wasn't really dense," said John B. Miller '86, who was in blaze-ridden room B-23 with Philip M. Romero '86 when the fire started.
The fire began after Romero and Miller burned paper in their screened fireplace and flames "billowed out", burning the wood mantelpiece.
"We thought it would go out in about five minutes," said Miller.
Romero burnt his fingers while trying to move the screen, and Ray Johnson '86 ran down two flights of stairs to retrieve a fire extinguisher in the basement.
"It [the fire] seemed like it was pretty contained, but there was a mattress nearby," said Johnson.
Firemen arrived after Johnson and Miller had extinguished the flames and Deputy Fire Chief William F. Murray said because Romero's flue was closed the heat couldn't escape through the chimney so it "banked out into the room."
Icing his fingers after the accident. Romero said the burns were "nothing big", but he would go to University Health Services to be safe.
Although Johnson went down two stories for a fire extinguisher, another extinguisher was located near Romero's room on the second floor. However, one student observer said the second story extinguisher was in an "unobvious place" behind a door.
The last fire to blaze through Adams House caused an estimated $10,000 damage last November in a room below last night's fire.