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BU Student Dies in Allston Fire

Victim is identified as Binland Lee, a senior studying marine science

This article was updated at 4:15 p.m.

The BU student who died in an Allston fire early Sunday morning has been identified as Binland Lee (CAS’13), a senior who was studying marine science. The blaze, which broke out at 6:30 a.m., destroyed a three-story house at 87 Linden Street and injured nine residents, including two other University students, and six firefighters.

Lee, a former vice president of the BU Marine Science Association, was scheduled to graduate in September from BU’s Marine Program. She graduated in 2009 from Brooklyn Technical High School, a specialized high school in Brooklyn, N.Y., that accepts students who pass a tough admission exam. Lee was one of a group of students who completed a ten-day field course in Belize with John Finnerty, associate professor of biology. “I was struck by her intelligence, her determination, her vitality, and her infectious smile,” said Finnerty, describing Lee as “a source of optimism for the future.”

A spokesperson for the Boston Fire Department says that 18 people appeared to have been living in the building. BU Police Chief Thomas Robbins says nine BU students were among the residents, and three of them were not at home at the time of the fire. Robbins says two BU students were treated at area hospitals for non-life-threatening injuries.

The Boston Globe reports that one person jumped from the roof of the building and two others were rescued by firefighters on ladders. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Allston Fire, Linden Street, Boston Fire Department

An early morning fire on Sunday left one BU student dead and 15 people injured at 87 Linden Street in Allston. Photo courtesy of the Boston Fire Department

In a letter sent Sunday evening to the BU community, President Robert A. Brown said his thoughts and prayers go to the family and friends of the individual who died and to all the victims of the fire. “This tragedy comes close on the heels of the Boston Marathon losses, which have so affected our community,” Brown wrote. “We are working to marshal counseling and support resources for all those touched by the fire while continuing to meet the needs of others who have been affected by the Marathon bombings.”

Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore (SED’87) says the University will work with students who were hurt or displaced by the fire. The fire, he says, is a reminder that students should follow the advice on BU’s safety website, as well as the home fire safety website of the city of Boston.

There will be a Community Gathering at 7 in the George Sherman Union Metcalf Ballroom. Chaplains from Marsh Chapel, counselors, Boston University Police leadership, and staff from the Dean of Students Office will be on hand to discuss Sunday’s tragedy and fire safety issues.

Counseling is available to all members of the BU community through the Dean of Students Office, from Marsh Chapel chaplains, at Student Health Services (SHS), and at the Sexual Assault Response & Prevention Center (SARP). The crisis counselors can be reached through SARP 24/7 at 617-353-7277 for immediate response and assistance. The SHS Behavioral Medicine staff can be reached at 617-353-3569 to contact a counselor or  schedule an appointment. University chaplains can be reached at 617-353-3560. The Faculty & Staff Assistance Office, which can be reached at 617-353-5381, is available to provide confidential counseling to faculty and staff and their families.

Art Jahnke

Art Jahnke can be reached at jahnke@bu.edu.

44 Comments on BU Student Dies in Allston Fire

  • Paul S on 04.28.2013 at 5:35 pm

    They said on the scene the cause of the fire was probably a cigarette butt carelessly flicked away.. just another reminder to be mindful in every act we do

  • Sarah Costinelto on 04.28.2013 at 8:59 pm

    May they rest in peace.

  • Mo on 04.28.2013 at 11:37 pm

    So sad. RIP beautiful young lady. Signed a heavy hearted BU parent.

  • Friend on 04.29.2013 at 12:05 am

    May her soul rest in peace and may our community provide comfort for her loved ones.

  • Steve on 04.29.2013 at 12:18 am

    BU community lost so many great students in the past year.
    3 dead in New Zealand.
    2 dead in traffic accident.
    2 dead in fire.
    1 dead in gun shot.
    1 dead in blast.
    1 dead in fraternity activity.
    Hope they all R.I.P..

    • Someone on 04.29.2013 at 11:58 am

      If you are going to list them, list them all:
      1 dead in Turkey

      • Jonah Ford on 04.29.2013 at 12:23 pm

        Was this related to the STH course that goes to Turkey in the spring semester??

      • Anon on 04.29.2013 at 6:44 pm

        Missing one person automatically means there was no thought and the comment was meant to insult.

        • A on 04.30.2013 at 8:48 am

          You know what? Not helpful. These dead students were people’s family and friends and to see them left off a list of losses is hurtful and makes it seem as if no one remembers them. The commenter “Someone” had a right to point this out, and your sarcasm is insulting.

        • Anonymous on 04.30.2013 at 9:14 am

          Seems an inappropriate time to make a list

          Prayers out to everyone

    • Boston born on 04.29.2013 at 9:55 pm

      It’s Heart breaking to lose these special young people. Let this be the end – no more tragedies for BU.

  • Tim baker on 04.29.2013 at 5:24 am

    So sorry for your loss and I hope you can recover quickly! Love to all the Bostonians ! I love beantown!!!

  • Sad parent on 04.29.2013 at 8:57 am

    within only a few months, 5 BU students died for diffrent reasons like trafic accident, alcoholic drink,explosion,fire….very high rate compared to other universities! whis wrong with this school? no bad news again!

    • BU student on 04.29.2013 at 9:51 am

      BU consists of over 20,000 people across countless undergraduate and graduate programs. Of course more people will die in our community each year than at a college with 4,000 undergrads. Instead of using this as a place to remind us of all the loss BU has suffered this year, let’s try to support each other and begin to heal.

    • Huh? on 04.29.2013 at 1:50 pm

      What’s wrong with this school?

      ………. you’re blaming the school for this?

      • Delusional Parent on 04.29.2013 at 6:45 pm


  • Abroad Alum on 04.29.2013 at 9:07 am

    Wow. Can’t believe I spent the better part of freshman and sophomore year across the street at 88 Linden. It seems like Allston is becoming a less safe housing option as the years progress. Thinking of her family and friends in another terrible loss for the BU community. Things are hitting way too close to home these days.

  • AutoFill Liz on 04.29.2013 at 9:50 am

    I am deeply saddened at such an event catastrophe. I lived in Alston 1975 1976 and attended Boston university. I am so sad for the family. God bless you. Liz

  • Whoa on 04.29.2013 at 10:43 am

    18 people living there O.O? That’s quite a few.

    RIP :(

    • Anonymous on 04.29.2013 at 4:26 pm

      The Boston Assessors site says that there were 9 bedrooms and 13 rooms total in this building, which may have been a two-family.

  • Alum on 04.29.2013 at 11:54 am

    Very sad news to hear. When I was going to BU my Allston apartment building on Ashford street also caught on fire during my junior year. It is erie to read this news because Linden street was close to Ashford. Luckily we all were not hurt and I thought BU did an excellent job of reaching out to us that day(even thouh it was off-campus housing). May all the members we lost rest in peace.

  • Recent Alum on 04.29.2013 at 12:13 pm

    BU is overdue for some infrastructural changes. Maybe if housing wasn’t more expensive than living off campus, or maybe if housing wasn’t mandatory for so many students on financial aid, or if the minimum (it’s mandatory if you live on campus) meal plan wasn’t more expensive than eating out 3 times a day, these kids wouldn’t have felt the need to cram 18 people into a tiny, run-down Allston house. Also, maybe if freshman dorms didn’t feel like it was 100 degrees inside when it is 20 degrees or warmer outside, they would be more inclined to pursue on-campus housing options.

    And don’t even get me started on the bike safety situation… BU may not be directly responsible, but its issues could not have possibly been laid out for them any clearer after all of this. Student Government needs to get the BU community involved and motivate the administration to move along quickly

    • Current BU Student on 04.29.2013 at 1:35 pm

      I think the issue is not only expensive on-campus housing. A lot of students do not like the fact that there are so many rules and regulations for on-campus housing and they love the “freedom” they get when they live off-campus. Little do they realize that these rules and regulations are meant for our own safety. BU dorms and apartments do not allow us to use candles and the dorms do not even allow electric kettles and rice-cookers that could cause a short circuit and result in a fire.

    • AP on 04.29.2013 at 2:03 pm

      I wouldn’t go as far as to blame BU for forcing kids into this house, but I think there are ways BU could make on-campus housing more attractive to students to encourage them to stay on-campus.

      1) Year-round housing. A lot of the people I know who moved off-campus did it because they planned on staying in Boston over the summer for work, internships, or summer session, or because they were international and their visa made it hard to return home. New England Conservatory is adding a new dormitory to accommodate students who choose to stay at school year-round, and I think BU could easily earmark some space for this as well, perhaps on South Campus.

      2) More singles. You can have your own room in an apartment off-campus for the same price as a double/triple/quad on campus. Direct roommates are stressful, disruptive, and distracting to many people, and often take away from sleep or study time. And of course, a lot of those double/triple/quads are in buildings full of barely-18-year-old freshmen, whose lives aren’t exactly compatible with the lives of 22-year-old seniors.

      3)Stop building luxury apartments. The market price of a four-bedroom apartment in 10 Buick Street for the 2013-2014 school year would be $6,551, with each roommate’s share at $1,637 (including internet and utilities.) Most married couples I know in their late 20s and early 30s aren’t paying that, because they can’t afford it- and they have full-time jobs.

      • mplo on 05.05.2014 at 3:32 am

        Excellent post with points well taken, AP. Thanks.

  • Current BU Senior on 04.29.2013 at 2:03 pm

    I don’t think the issue is how expensive on campus housing is or the “freedom” a student gets by living off campus. I moved off campus junior year because I was able to get a living situation that accommodated more of my friends. And once you’re of legal age to drink, there are very few restrictions put on you in on campus housing.

    As far as the bike situation goes. As someone who drives frequently, the issue has very little to do with the bike lanes and far more to do with the bikers. Bikers run red lights, dart out into the road, they feel because they are on a bike that have more of a right than the cars. The bike lanes and rules are fine, it is the bikers who need to change their attitude. I spend most of my time driving on Comm ave worried I’m going to hit a biker.

    Lastly, in response to @Recent BU Alum, as far as infrastructure changes…How recent of an alum are you? They just renovated three major freshman dorms and added two state of the art dorms, in the last TEN years.


    • Sam on 04.30.2013 at 10:15 am

      Current infrastructure on Comm. Ave is a greater threat to safety than a few rogue cyclists. Some of Boston’s motorists are just as entitled and careless.

  • Another BU Student on 04.29.2013 at 2:22 pm

    I am so sorry for her family and friends’ loss. My prayers and condolences, she knew some of my friends and she seems like a wonderful person. This is such a tragedy.

  • Friend on 04.29.2013 at 2:25 pm

    Binland was the sweetest girl and I am so glad I was able to know her. May her beautiful soul forever rest in peace.

  • BU Class of 2013 on 04.29.2013 at 2:32 pm

    I just want to say that my heart goes out to everyone in the BU Community, especially my 2013 undergraduate classmates.

    We have had to say goodbye to too many from our year in the past 4 years and my heart aches for all of Binland’s friends and family.

    I hope we dedicate our ceremony on the 19th to all of them. They should be there.

  • Gina on 04.29.2013 at 2:35 pm

    I don’t appreciate this being a forum to debate housing. A life was lost here. Binland was a friend to all, a daughter, and an amazing person. I am deeply saddened by this. I wish peace and comfort to come upon her family and friends. I will miss you Binland.

  • Miriam Perez on 04.29.2013 at 3:04 pm

    Lee Family,

    I am a proud member of the Brooklyn Tech Family, which Binland is a part of, and we are very sorry to hear of her passing. It is such a terrible loss. Please accept our condolences and know that we are praying for her, you and her BU Family as well. May she rest in peace.

    • Fellow Brooklynite on 04.29.2013 at 9:19 pm

      I knew Binland since she was little, since our parents knew each other. I can’t believe that when I saw her last in Brooklyn that would be the final time. This is a tragic loss, and I wish her family all the best–she was an only child and her mother loved her so dearly. I cannot imagine how tough this must be for her. May you rest in peace, Binland.

    • mplo on 05.05.2014 at 3:38 am

      RIP, Binland.

      To Binland’s friends and loved ones: Without knowing any of you personally, or having known Binland personally, my thoughts and condolences are with you during these dark and difficult times.

  • Michelle Johnson on 04.29.2013 at 3:19 pm

    I’m devastated to hear this. Binland took my intro multimedia class last semester. She was very smart and talented. She wasn’t a journalism major, but she took the class to learn how to do multimedia science projects. Here’s her final project for the class: http://blee2013.wix.com/binlandlee

    • Kate on 04.29.2013 at 5:03 pm

      Thank you for sharing this! I did not know her personally but what a terrible loss!

      RIP Binland

  • Another Concerned Parent on 04.29.2013 at 5:35 pm

    This is not the time nor the place to be discussing BU Housing, the cost of a meal plan, campus rules and/or cyclists vs. vehicular traffic. At the same time, the “Let’s blame BU” game is so old and so very, very worn out.

    Students know, well in advance of enrolling at Boston University, what the costs are. If it is cost prohibitive for you to attend, and at the risk of this sounding abrasive – transfer and find a place that fits within your budget vs. attacking Boston University. If you feel restricted by policies and procedures – transfer to a college or university that affords you the freedom you seek vs. attacking Boston University. I suspect you will find that other institutions have similar “rules” in place – many of which are law and NOT implemented on a whim, simply to make your day miserable. If BU Housing’s options do not meet your needs – regardless of what those needs are, find a place that is more cost-effective and safe and where maintenance issues are often addressed within 24 hours.

    The loss of life is terrible – and our community has experienced far too much recently. That said, this tragedy, or any of the others, are not to be blamed on Boston University. The staff and administration of your institution have done a tremendous job under difficult circumstances, providing assistance for the campus community including temporary housing, academic materials, funds, clothing, food as well as counseling and across-the-board support. I defy you to find a landlord from the off-campus student neighborhoods that will provide similar support services.

    I apologize for deviating from the subject – but this needs to be shared.

    My thoughts and prayers are with Binland Lee’s family during this difficult time – may God watch over all of you with eternal peace.

    • From the Outside on 04.29.2013 at 7:01 pm

      If it’s not the time or the place, why are you? You are sad.

    • Mike DeFilippis (COM '13) on 04.29.2013 at 8:42 pm

      I tend to avoid the fray in comments, but thank you for this intelligent and insightful comment.

      RIP Binland.

  • Ken McCumiskey on 04.29.2013 at 5:40 pm

    I was Binland’s freshman history teacher at Tech. This kid had sweet smarts. So focused but such a pleasure to be in the company of. For the world, a real loss.

  • BU student on 04.29.2013 at 11:28 pm

    Yes BU could do more in regards to housing, but compared to many schools they already do so much. For one thing on campus housing is guaranteed all 4 years, more than many schools where it’s only offered to students for their first year or two. How about the landlords in Allston bringing the buildings up to code? A student shouldn’t have died like this and for me as a freshman biology major aspiring to do marine semester I am saddened by the loss of a wonderful young scientist. I never met Binland but I wish I had and she is an inspiration. May she rest in peace.

    • mplo on 05.05.2014 at 3:36 am

      Maybe if BU and other colleges/universities in the area didn’t insist on encroaching so deeply into nearby neighborhoods, there would be far fewer problems, for students and for the lifetime and longtime residents of these neighborhoods. Maybe the colleges and universities around here and the hotels in this area should work out some sort of an arrangement, so that the Boston-area hotels can agree to take an at least a limited number of students at BU and other colleges/universities in our area.

  • Jackie Manduley on 04.30.2013 at 4:01 pm

    I knew Binland from Brooklyn Tech when she was on Student Government and I was a Coordinator of Student Activities. She was a sweet, hardworking, caring young lady, even in high school! I wish I had the pleasure of having her as a student as well. This is such a tragedy and my thoughts and prayers go out to her family, friends, and classmates. May her soul rest in peace.

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