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Neighbors woke to cries, smell of smoke from Allston fire

2 victims remain in the hospital

Flames were still coming through the roof of an Allston house an hour after firefighters arrived.Jay Connor for The Boston Globe

A former Boston University graduate student awoke Sunday morning, hearing cries for help from neighbors at the Linden Street house that caught fire around 7 a.m., injuring seven students and displacing seven others.

“It’s kind of a college area, so you hear a lot of yelling and you don’t really think anything,’’ said Steve Bastin, a graduate student who completed his mathematical finance studies in December.

The smell of smoke, still lingering outside the charred house on Linden Street in Allston last night, is what pulled Bastin out of his bed, across the street from the fire. Bastin said he and other neighbors watched the flames grow rapidly and saw the tenants, all BU students covered in soot, who had escaped. Seven students lived in the house, and another was visiting the night of the fire.

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Seven students were injured, one critically when a man and woman jumped from an upper-floor window of the three-story house, according to fire officials.

Two were still in the hospital last night, according to Steve MacDonald, a spokesman for the Boston Fire Department. Their conditions were unknown last night.

Fabian Behrens, a BU student who lives in a house across the street, said he could feel the fire’s heat from his front steps.

“I saw the house in flames, heard people screaming. . . . It was chaos,’’ said Behrens, a graduate student studying American law.

The heat from the blaze wreaked havoc on adjacent houses, cracking windows and melting the vinyl siding of another residence.

Paul Foti, owner of that residence, said he has repaired damage, including melted siding, broken windows, a flooded basement, and two broken water heaters.

“It looks worse than what it really is,’’ he said.

Foti said his tenants, who work in construction, spent a night at friends’ houses while repairs were made, but are back in their apartment now.

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Boston University is helping to provide temporary residences for the tenants of the burned house, MacDonald said.

MacDonald said not much will be salvageable, since the house had $500,000 worth of damage and will have to be leveled.

MacDonald said the Fire Department has reports that smoke detectors were installed and working at the time of the fire. Investigators have not released any information about the cause of the blaze, but they “have a good idea of where it started,’’ MacDonald said.


Marjorie Nesin can be reached at mnesin@globe.com.