The John F. Kennedy (JFK) Library across the street from UMass Boston is closed until further notice due to a fire that broke out on April 15.
Firefighters from Dorchester, South Boston, Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain responded to the large fire, which was called in around 3 p.m. Freshman Nolan O’Brien saw the fire and said he saw “very, very dark smoke.” He added that “the wind kinda blew it, and [the fire] looked larger than it really was.”
O’Brien lives in Squantum, a part of Quincy where residents can see the library across the harbor. Just before 3 p.m., O’Brien said he saw smoke rising from the area. O’Brien recalled, “I was outside with my mother and my younger cousin, and we just were out in the yard. All of a sudden, we looked across the bay, and a huge plume of smoke was rising from JFK Library that was not there 30 seconds before… It was very instantaneous.”
During firefighting operations, police officials from the Massachusetts State Police, MBTA Transit Police, and Boston Police Department arrived on the scene in order to investigate whether the fire might have had some relation to the Boston Marathon bombings.
Police were not the only ones who thought that there may have been a link. O’Brien said that he “ran inside and turned on the news, and at that same time the breaking news had just come on about the marathon bombing.” After seeing the newsflash, his first thought was, “They may have been connected.”
Bomb squad technicians and canine units examined the area, but did not come up with any evidence of a bomb or suspicious device.
While damage was done to some of the building and minor damage was done to the collections, most of the damage was the result of firefighting operations and not the fire itself.
The Boston Fire Investigation Unit later determined that the fire was started by smoking materials that were not properly put out.