After Fire, Residents Will Return to Prescott

Some residents of the Harvard-owned Prescott Hall, which was partially gutted by a fire Wednesday, will be unable to move back in until renovations are completed, Harvard Real Estate (HRE) officials said yesterday.

Residents of 18 apartment units were forced to evacuate after the fire gutted the third and fourth floors of the apartment building. Residents of eight of the units--located at 472 Broadway St.--will continue to seek shelter elsewhere as renovations continue. Other residents were allowed to return to their homes yesterday.

Until now, most of those whose apartments were hit by the fire have been staying at the Quality Inn in Cambridge, the Cambridge Rindge and Latin school, and with friends, according to HRE officials. Some of the residents are Harvard affiliates.

Renovations in eight of the units still continue because of severe damages caused by the fire and fire prevention measures, said Cornelius O'Brien, deputy chief of the Cambridge Fire Department. More than 10 windows were destroyed by fire fighters to ventilate the building, he said.

O'Brien said that much of the fire was inside the walls, causing "rather extensive damage."


Although the cause of the fire has yet to be determined, the investigation continues, said HRE Director of Communications Dianne M. Dyslin.

"A building inspector has been set there but it is difficult to ascertain what causes these things after they happen," said Dyslin.

She also said that HRE has yet to determine the total cost of the damage done by the fire.