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Tufts Junior, 20, Dies in Fire

By Jaquelyn M. Scharnick, Crimson Staff Writer

A 20-year old Tufts University student died early Saturday morning when a two-alarm fire engulfed the garage apartment in Medford, Mass., where she lived.

Junior Wendy A. Carman of Tacoma, Wash., was sleeping in her bed when the fire broke out shortly before 4:30 a.m.

Neighbors’ desperate attempts to rouse the sleeping woman and firefighters’ efforts to reach her were unsuccessful and were hindered by the cold temperatures which froze several hoses, according to fire officials.

Carman, a junior who majored in Spanish and minored in art history, lived in the loft over the garage where the fire broke out. A breezeway connected the garage to a two-family house, which was not damaged by the fire.

In recent days, Medford city administrators have voiced concerns about the legality of the dwelling in which Carman resided.

Medford’s building inspector said the building did not have a permit for the loft to be used as an apartment and there was only one entrance and exit to the dwelling, a violation of the city’s building code.

Medford Mayor Michael J. McGlynn told the Associated Press that the owner of the residence will be prosecuted if the loft was not a legal abode.

The home’s landlord, Frederick Shaffer of Reading, Mass. said he will not comment about the incident until the Fire Department completes its investigation.

Carman’s family said she was a spirited and impassioned young woman.

“Wendy was vibrant and loved equally the solitude of her books and the company of her friends,” her family said in a statement.

Tufts University does not guarantee on-campus housing for juniors such as Carman, and the Tufts University website reports that a majority of Tufts’ juniors and seniors live off-campus.

A memorial service for Carman will be held at 4:30 p.m. today in Tufts’ Goddard Chapel.

—Material from the Associated Press was used in this story.

—Staff writer Jaquelyn M. Scharnick can be reached at

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