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Students Support Burn Victim

Commend Officers Who Saved Her Life

By Mike Hall


A student injured in Monday’s fire at Random Hall remained hospitalized on Thursday while the MIT community rallied to support her and the Campus Police officers who saved her life.

Elizabeth H. Shin ’02 was listed in critical condition Thursday evening at Massachusetts General Hospital. Shin was admitted to MGH Monday night after suffering third-degree burns in a fire which started in her fourth-floor single room. MGH officials would not provide an estimate on when Shin would be released from the hospital.

Shin is an active member of the MIT community and is widely praised by her neighbors at Random Hall for her openness and compassion. In addition to her studies in biology, Shin is a former member of the MIT fencing team and enjoys playing the clarinet.

Amrys O. Williams ’02, a fourth-floor resident at Random, called Shin “a caring person -- one of those rare souls who always have a smile and a hug for you.”

“[Shin] is a brilliant person, yet modest,” said Raffi C. Krikorian ’01, one of Shin’s close friends. “She shows genuine concern for people.”

Matthew S. Cain ’02, Random president, added that Shin is well-liked among Random residents and is very outgoing.

Globe report contested

On Wednesday, the Boston Globe reported that the incident was being investigated as a suicide attempt. Gerald Reardon, acting chief of the Cambridge Fire Department, was quick to assert that the exact cause of the fire had yet to be determined.

“There are a number of plausible accidental causes [for the fire],” Reardon said, contradicting assumptions that the probe had determined the exact cause. “We want to be completely objective in [our research]. We still need to get a few more pieces.”

Cambridge Fire reported earlier that Campus Police officers found Shin lying on a burning bed in the center of her room.

Friends of Shin maintained that the fire was accidental.

“At the moment we don’t know much about the fire or how it started, but no one suspects malicious intent,” said Mary F. Farrow ’01, a Random Hall resident. “Liz is a valued member of the Random community, and right now we are all hoping for her speedy recovery.”

Students express support

Students across campus expressed concern for Shin’s condition, and over 100 students signed a banner in the Student Center which wishes her a speedy recovery.

“The MIT community has been tremendously supportive of Liz,” Cain added.

Students also expressed their gratitude for the Campus Police officers who saved Shin’s life. Williams said that Random’s reaction to the officers’ efforts “has been of extreme gratitude. We’ve all been commenting on how quickly the MIT police responded.”

Letters praising the quick response time of the campus police officers were sent to campus mailing lists in the days following the fire.

Roger A. Ford ’02, a fourth-floor Random resident, began distributing blue ribbons to Random residents following an online suggestion that students wear the ribbons to commend the efforts of the Campus Police.

Ford said the ribbons “sounded like something that Random could do that could become widespread. It’s an easy way to say thank you to the Campus Police.” Related stories:

Sophomore Critically Injured in Random Hall Fire
April 11, 2000