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Fish Tank Electrical Fire Forces Evacuation of Ashdown

Jimmy Wong--The Tech
An electrical component in this fish tank started a fire that forced the evacuation of Ashdown House.

By Ifung Lu
Associate News Editor

An electrical fire in the Ashdown House lounge at 7:30 p.m. last night forced an evacuation of the graduate dormitory, according to a Campus Police officer at the scene.

An electrical component in a fish tank ignited, setting fire to pieces of paper scattered underneath the tank as well as to the wooden frame supporting it, according to Ashdown desk worker Alain Curodeau G.

The fish in the tank were not injured by the fire, according to Judy Chen G, who was working Ashdown desk at the time of the fire.

Firefighters from the Cambridge Fire Department entered the building with water hoses, but did not need to use them because the fire was partially extinguished when they arrived, according to the officer.

The fire fighters did check the floor for structural integrity before allowing residents back into the building, the officer said.

"The whole thing was smoky, but nobody was hurt," the officer said.

Todd S. Anderson G was the first to notice the fire. He and David W. Pratt G alerted the desk workers. They couldn't find a fire extinguisher in the area, so they had to go to the second floor to get a fire extinguisher.

Curodeau entered the lounge and unplugged the cord.

Pratt then "brought in a fire extinguisher, but there was so much smoke that I called the police," Chen said.

Anderson and Pratt worked to extinguish the fire.

Christopher L. Falling contributed to the reporting of this story.