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MIT assists investigation into fire at One Broadway

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Please note: To access communications after Jan. 11, 2007, as well as full archives, please refer to the MITIMCO web site for One Broadway.

The Cambridge Fire Department, the State Fire Marshal and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are currently investigating the cause of Friday's electrical fire at One Broadway, where an NStar transformer exploded, resulting in one fatality and forcing hundreds of other workers to vacate the building.

MIT is working closely with the investigators and is providing round-the-clock assistance to these efforts.

"We are doing everything possible to assist all those affected by the fire and to get the building operating again as soon as is possible," said Kirk Kolenbrander, vice president for Institute affairs and secretary of the Corporation.

An NStar employee and Roxbury native, Kevin Fidalgo, died as a result of the explosion. More than 100 people were treated for smoke inhalation at area hospitals.

MIT has owned the 17-story building at One Broadway since 1998. The building tenants include small technology firms and some MIT offices, including MIT OpenCourseWare and parts of the MIT Sloan School of Management. All individuals working in these offices were able to exit the building successfully.

The transformer exploded around 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 8.

The Institute's emergency response team, including the MIT Environmental Health and Safety Office, MIT Campus Police and MIT Medical, provided assistance at the scene of the fire, working closely with the Cambridge Fire Department and other local rescue agencies.

By Saturday, temporary electric power was connected to the building's life safety and heating systems, and NStar was in the process of removing and replacing damaged transformers. MIT's property management agent, Meredith & Grew, will continue to provide periodic status updates to all tenants in the building.

MIT officials are conducting a full evaluation of the MIT-owned equipment in the building and will provide further details once their review is complete. In addition, on-site cleaning is underway, and engineers are performing appropriate environmental tests to help guide the cleanup.

Plans are in motion to provide temporary work arrangements for MIT employees who have been displaced. Administration officials are hopeful that space will be found for all Institute employees by the end of the week.

MIT community members should check the MIT News Office web site for periodic updates. Those who have further questions may contact

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 13, 2006 (download PDF).

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