Damages From Fire Total $60K

Cause of Story Street Blaze Still a Mystery

University officials said yesterday they estimate the damage caused by the fire Tuesday evening at a Harvard office building on Story St. will cost about $50,000 to repair.

The cause of Tuesday's fire, which resulted in extensive smoke damage to the Radcliffe Development Office and the Harvard AIDS Institute, still has not been determined.

"The fire investigation unit is still working...conducting interviews and getting background information they have to collect," said Deputy Gerald Reardon of the Cambridge Fire Department yesterday. "But they may have an answer [today]."

Forty-two firefighters, representing six engines and three ladder companies as well as several support units responded to the fire, which took about 20 minutes to bring under control, Reardon said.

"Whether or not it's a deliberate fire, we have to check the whole building," Reardon said. "Because in a large rambling complex when you have smoke all over the place, you want to make sure the smoke is from the primary fire and that there isn't some other secondary fire."


The vacant third floor of the building, which houses the Charles Webb furniture showroom on its street level and is located at 4-10 Story St., was formerly the offices of the Architects Collaborative. When fire fighters arrived on the scene Tuesday evening, thick black smoke was billowing, from the third floor windows.

There was serious smoke damage to the fourth and fifth floors, as well as smoke and water damage to the first, second and third floors.

Because the building is composed primarily of glass and concrete, the fire did not spread as quickly as it might have in a Building with a different construction, Reardon said. Most of the firefighters had left the scene after approximately one hour.

No one was injured in the blaze.

Workers performed clean-up efforts throughout the fright Tuesday and early yesterday morning.

The building is scheduled to reopen today after certification of all building systems--including air quality teaching--and approval by the Cambridge Inspectional Services Department