SPECIAL TO THE GAZETTE 11/12/01
A fire in the Eliot House grill, located in the basement below M-Entry , forced the evacuation of approximately 430 Eliot House students Sunday night shortly after 8 p.m. Students in nearby Kirkland House were also temporarily evacuated as a precaution. No injuries were reported.
Thick black smoke was reported coming from the basement common room, which contained the grill, a pool table, couch and television. Several trucks from the Cambridge Fire Department arrived shortly after two alarms in Eliot house were activated shortly after 8 p.m.. Water damage was contained to the basement area while a strong odor of smoke permeated Eliot House and the surrounding area throughout the evening.
Kirkland residents were allowed to return to their rooms at approximately 10 p.m.
Officials from Harvard Environmental Health and Safety conducted a room by room check of carbon dioxide levels in Eliot House while clean up crews mopped floors and wiped walls and other surfaces. Windows were opened to allow the smell to dissipate.
Students who had not joined friends in other Houses or in an area set aside at the nearby Malkin Athletic Area waited in the Eliot House dining hall where fruit, sandwiches, deserts and soft drinks were delivered around 11 p.m. Cots had been brought in and made available in Quincy and Adams Houses in case students would be unable to return to their Eliot House rooms.
By 12:30 a.m Monday., the majority of Eliot students were allowed back into their rooms. The remaining rooms were cleaned and cleared for occupancy around 1:15 a.m. No official cause of the fire had been determined by Monday afternoon.