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Toxic Fumes Seep into Dormitory; 1,500 Boston U. Students Evacuated

October 15, 1991

BOSTON (AP) _ Toxic fumes from a parking garage seeped into Boston University’s largest dormitory, forcing some 1,500 students to sramble for overnight lodging.

No one was reported seriously injured after the building was emptied late Monday night, but resident adviser Scott Monty said some students reported severe headaches from the fumes.

Three students who treated at a hospital, said Martha Lepore, a BU spokeswoman.

The school hired a company to take air samples this morning before deciding whether it was safe to let students return. Most students spent the night in the school’s student union or stayed with friends.

Fire officials said they found potentially explosive fumes from a chemical product being used to seal the concrete floors in a three-story, lower-level garage.

Boston Deputy Fire Chief Paul Callaghan said the sealant - containing the hydrocarbon toluene - was both ″a health hazard and a fire hazard.″ He refused to allow students to re-enter the building, even to retrieve belongings.

The evacuation, which began about midnight, sent hundreds of students onto Commonwealth Avenue, nearby restaurants and a classroom building across the street.

Dormitory residents reported smelling fumes over the weekend, but several said the smell intensified Monday evening and reached to the 18th floor of the Warren dormitory’s three towers.

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