Some people think the foam from Mather Lather may give you rashes. But here’s one thing the foam can definitely do: set off fire alarms and briefly shut down the party.
At approximately 11:30 p.m. last night, smoke detectors in the dining hall went off and revelers from the sold-out party were told to evacuate the building, according to Mather House Master Leigh G. Hafrey '73, Denis Downing of the Harvard University Police Department, and students on the scene.
“The beam detectors detected [the foam] as the equivalent of smoke,” Hafrey said, citing the information he had been provided by HUPD.
The majority of students congregated in the courtyard as two fire trucks arrived with firefighters who entered and checked out the building.
“Everyone was very orderly, without protest, quick paced,” Hafrey told us.
Many of the partiers—many wearing just wet bathing suits—seemed to remain spirited, and most were waiting to return to the party once it reopened. While the exact number of students at the party at the time is not available, Mather House Council had sold over 450 tickets, according to David L. Billing Jr. '11, a HoCo co-chair.
This is not the first time Mather Lather has been shut down. In 2003, Mather Lather was shut down after crowds reached levels of over 1,000 people.
In response to the 2003 incident, Mather HoCo created “a two-inch thick safety manual” for the Lather, according to Hafrey.
But the craziness in Mather yesterday night didn’t end right there: a second fire alarm went off soon after in Mather at 12:05 am, possibly connected to a discharged fire extinguisher found on the third floor of the B-entryway stairwell. A fine, white dust filled the air in the stairwell.
The alarm was quickly shut off and no evacuations were required, according to Hafrey.
A HUPD spokesperson was not available late last night to comment on what caused the second alarm of the evening.
This follows a similar incident last weekend, when a fire extinguisher in Quincy was discharged late on a weekend night.
Photo by Punit N. Shah/The Harvard Crimson.