A fire in a linen dryer caused headaches for commuters and hotel guests at the Sheraton Commander hotel yesterday morning.
After an automatic fire alarm sounded around 8:00 a.m., hotel employees immediately evacuated the building, unsure of whether the alarm signaled an actual fire. Guests were rousted from their beds.
"When we have an alarm go off, generally the building evacuates, whether it is a real fire or not," said Edward Guleserian, managing director of the Sheraton Commander.
Two Cambridge fire engines and one hook-and-ladder truck arrived, extinguishing the burning lint in minutes. But for a short while after, hose lines stretched across Garden St., disrupting traffic.
Harvard students reported that Quad shuttle was rerouted as police shut down the part Garden St. in front of the hotel.
A short time later, police reopened the road to alternating directions of traffic, while hotel guests milled about outside the hotel.
As fire crews were mopping up water after the Commander fire, another fire alarm sounded at Widener Library at 8:35 a.m.
Additional fire engines from further afield raced to the Yard, joining units from the Harvard University Police Department already investigating the alarm--the engines that would normally respond were busy up the road.
Even though Widener had not officially opened for the morning, dozens of employees and construction workers were already inside and were be evacuated.
Library officials declined to comment.
The alarm eventually proved to be false, fire officials said.
By a little after 9 a.m., the fire trucks rolled away, and calm had returned to Harvard Square.
This morning, it will be business as usual at the Commander, Guleserian said.
"We use the laundry every day," he noted.
He said the fire was an anomaly and that the fire department had not found any problems with the hotel.
"The only precautions [we would take] would be to watch [the linen dryer] more closely," he said. "There are no violations or anything like that."
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