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Fire at Johnston Gate.


4:40 PM Littauer Library, North Yard. “There’s a
fire.” A woman patron pointed toward Johnston Gate where there was a
ferocious blaze with flames a few feet high and clouds of smoke 20 or
30 feet into the air. The Cambridge Fire Department was already on the
scene. By the time I got outside and found a camera angle clear of the
trees CFD had already knocked down the flames. Twenty minutes later,
after we closed the library, this was the scene

Cause: Believed to be equipment malfunction.
Injuries: [Thankfully] none.

Update:  Sunday May 1, 5:45 PM. Michael Feldman,
who publishes Dowbrigade news, and is also a member of the Berkman
Thursday Blogger Group has pictures and description earlier in the event. Michael is an actual journalist – fully trained and he teaches journalism at BU.

One more picture from Ezra Ball.

Update II: Wed May 3

Felicia, a student based in Cambridge, and a friend saw the beginning of the fire. Her blog has a dramatic picture [taken by Andrew Fong] and an eyewitness account including:

“…when we first saw it from near the body shop, it was just smoldering,
but by the time we went inside the yard and were checking out the john
harvard statue, the limo had become a massive ball of flames.”

The event was also reported in the Monday, May 2 issue of The Harvard Crimson, including a picture by Jonathon Tsao from a similar angle to Fong’s picture, but somewhat closer.

Opinion:  This first hand account seems to rule out
the theory of an explosion. It does, however, confirm that the fire was
fast moving. Jonathon Tsao’s  and Andrew Fong’s pictures confirm
that the event was as dramatic as eyewitnesses [including me]
said.  Questions about the origin were not unreasonable. They are
still worth a follow up. If there was no accelerant of any kind, we
ought to look at whether the upholstery materials used are adequately
fire retardant.

Harvard labor: then and now.
She’s alive! The bride speaks! Fire at Johnston Gate II


  1. Carrie

    May 13, 2005 @ 5:31 pm


    I am the bride who escaped from the burning limo – rather dramatic start to my wedding, but we’re glad everyone was okay. We didn’t crash into the gate, the limo was basically smoking the whole ride, though the driver kept telling us it was just “burning off extra oil”. Anyway. Could you email me your pictures to so I can add them to my crazy wedding album? Thanks! Also, the limo company was Discover Boston, and they have done NOTHING to compensate us for this – they haven’t even refunded our money!

  2. KK Teh

    May 24, 2005 @ 11:34 am



    I am the groom of the bride of the burning limo. We are completely outraged at how the limo company is treating us and this situation. It turns out a few of my friends miss the ceremony because traffic was held up in the sqaure. And the company still refuses take the proper responsibility for the situation. Not to mention the fact that if Carrie and the other occupants did not insist on getting out of the limo everyone could have been seriously injured or killed. I can’t even imagine. It absolutely infuriates me that company has been so non-responsive and just plain remorseless. We hope that Hank Ryan from the NBC can help. Thanks for all the comments, pics and support!

    KK Teh

  3. Pesho

    September 1, 2005 @ 11:23 pm


    Very nice

  4. Dog Pile

    September 14, 2005 @ 6:41 am


    Coat Dog

  5. Dog Hat

    September 14, 2005 @ 7:37 am


    Hat Net


    February 3, 2015 @ 9:19 am


    the guy by the door … » Blog Archive » Fire at Johnston Gate.

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