The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

BREAKING: Candle ‘explosion’ prompts evacuation of Willis Hall Tuesday night

Alexa Coultoff
Roughly a hundred Willis Hall residents were evacuated Tuesday night following a fire on the third floor.

Willis Hall was evacuated for around 20 minutes late Tuesday night due to smoke on the third floor, prompting a response from the Boston fire department and Northeastern police and temporarily displacing roughly a hundred residents.

A student on the third floor, who asked to remain anonymous, said that a candle in his apartment “exploded,” causing a small fire and extensive smoke. 

“I was studying with a friend here, and the candle exploded on the stove, and I thought [the fire] was small so I tried to put it out with a cloth first,” he said. “It didn’t work, so we just ran out and got a fire extinguisher.”

Other residents on the third floor reported seeing heavy smoke and hearing alarms in the hallway after being prompted to evacuate. 


Esther Magana, a second-year business administration major who lives down the hall from the aforementioned student, said she and her roommates saw smoke once they walked out of their apartment into the hall. 

“[It was] a significant amount of smoke, and you could tell it was coming from down the hallway,” Magana said. “I didn’t really know what was going on at first, and I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, but once I saw the smoke I realized it was a bigger issue.”

Video taken at approximately 9:30 p.m. Tuesday showed what appeared to be flashing lights coming from several apartments on the third and fourth floor of Willis Hall. It is unclear what the flashing was or if it was related to the fire.

Sara Bario, a second-year politics, philosophy, and economics major who lives on the second floor, also reported hearing banging from the third floor before the evacuation alarm sounded. It was unclear whether the banging was related to the incident.

The fire prompted a response from several Boston fire department vehicles. (Alexa Coultoff )

“I just heard incessant banging, and then the alarms went off, and it was like, ‘If you’re hearing this message, you have to evacuate,’” Bario said. “I don’t like not knowing anything, and I have assignments due and they’re not really telling us anything.”

The Northeastern University Police Department was not able to be reached for comment regarding the cause of the incident Tuesday night. 

Editor’s note: This story was updated Oct. 12 at 7:30 a.m. to remove a source’s name due to privacy concerns.

About the Contributors
Emily Spatz, Campus Editor
Emily Spatz is a journalism and political science combined major with a minor in english and campus editor of The News. She is currently a general assignment reporter co-op at has interned at her hometown newspaper covering business, city events and politics. She hopes to continue bringing pertinent, timely and thorough reporting to the Northeastern community. You can follow her @emilymspatz on X.
Alexa Coultoff, Projects Editor
Alexa Coultoff is a second-year criminal justice and journalism combined major and projects editor of The News. This is her second semester as projects editor, where she hopes to continue bringing insights and investigations into our coverage. She is currently on co-op at the Metro desk of The Boston Globe. You can follow her on X @alexacoultoff
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