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Fire Breaks Out in HVAC System of Yawkey Athletics Center

A fire broke out in the HVAC system of Boston College’s Yawkey Athletics Center on Friday night, according to Boston Fire Department (BFD) District Chief Mark Miller.

“There was some smoke coming out of what appeared to be the roof,” Miller said. “Companies went up there. They found that it was the HVAC system’s insulation had caught fire and gone down into the drop ceiling of the snack bar.”

The fire started at approximately 10:30 p.m., four and a half hours after BC set off fireworks from Maloney Lawn—which is in front of Yawkey—to kick off Senior Week.

Miller said BFD cannot yet determine the exact cause of the fire.

“They did say there were some fireworks there, so our fire investigation team’s gonna come and take a look and see what happened,” Miller said.

Firefighters on the scene ascended extension ladders to reach Yawkey’s roof and climb through windows on the building’s top floor, some carrying hoses with them.

Crowds of students gathered in front of Yawkey to watch first responders as they took action.

Sara Rigatti, Sanibel Betts, and Amanda Brown, all MCAS ’26, said they were walking by Yawkey around 10:30 p.m. when they noticed flames coming from the top of the building.

“We were just walking out here, and we saw the fire trucks come in, and then we looked and it was clearly burning,” Rigatti said. “And then we just stopped and saw everything happen. We basically watched it all unfold.”

James Laboissonniere and Mateo Humphrey, both MCAS ’25, said they saw a picture of the fire on Herrd and decided to walk over to see what was happening.

“We came down immediately because [Laboissonniere] showed me a picture of the flames above Conte right here, and we just thought we would further investigate,” Humphrey said.

Laboissonniere said there was smoke and an orange glow coming from the top of Yawkey when he and Humphrey first arrived at the scene.

“You couldn’t see flames, but you could kind of see the orange glow from the fire,” Laboissonniere said. “We saw a couple fire trucks pulling up, and we tried to go up to the garage to get a better view. It didn’t really work out. We came back down here and we saw a lot more trucks, a lot of firefighters.”

December 16, 2023