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A graduate resident tutor at East Campus has been charged with arson of a dwelling in connection with a fire early Saturday morning on the fourth floor (west) of the Monroe entry.
The tutor, Dimitri Kountourogiannis, was treated at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary for first and second degree burns on his left hand and arm and on the left side of his face. He was arraigned Monday in Cambridge District Court and released on personal recognizance. A pretrial hearing was scheduled for November 10.
According to reports, Mr.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Kountourogiannis told investigators that the fire started when he attempted to burn the number "41" -- the hall's nickname -- into the rug outside his room by spraying it with naphtha and igniting it with a lighter.
The sprinkler system went off shortly before 4am. Mr. Kountourogiannis attempted to smother the fire while a student used a fire extinguisher. The Cambridge Fire Department evacuated the entire west parallel shortly after 4am.
The audible fire alarm did not go off, but after the fire was put out, Facilities worked on the alarm system and had it fully functional later that morning. The floors below suffered water damage.
The Dean's Office is investigating the incident. MIT has relieved Mr. Kountourogiannis of his duties as a graduate resident tutor, pending resolution of the investigation and any disciplinary proceedings.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 7, 1998.