Harvard dorm mattress toppers burn in a fiery explosion on Mass. pike | New

Nearly 200 mattress toppers rented by Harvard undergraduates ended prematurely after the U-Haul transporting them to campus burst into flames on the side of the Massachusetts Turnpike on Monday afternoon.

The moving van caught fire around 3.19pm Monday on the off-ramp to Cambridge, drawing attention and sparking memes at Harvard and beyond. The drivers exited the vehicle after noticing smoke and were not injured.

The mattress toppers were a product of BiggerBed, which converts twin XL mattresses to full-size beds using a mattress topper and bed frame extender. Harvard students can rent the product for $399 through Harvard student agencies. The 188 mattress toppers that were to be delivered to Harvard were destroyed in the fire.

BiggerBed co-founder and CEO Brett Harrison said he and his colleagues are “working [their] tips” to straighten out the situation, and they hope to deliver a new set of mattress toppers to Harvard students early next week.

“Everything was going great,” Harrison said. “We felt really on top, and then, of course, your truck explodes.”

BiggerBed employee William A. Stern, who was driving the U-Haul with another worker, said he noticed the truck’s temperature dial was “completely out of whack.” The two pulled over to the side of the highway to let the truck cool, but when the U-Haul began to smoke, they got out of the vehicle.

Stern said he was on the phone with an HSA manager to explain the delay when he heard an explosion that engulfed the truck in flames.

“We heard a bang and I was like, ‘I’m going to have to call you back,'” Stern said. “So I called 911, and the police were there within two minutes.”

The Boston Fire Department, which responded to the incident alongside the Cambridge Fire Department, tweeted on Monday that there had been a “major cleanup” following the incident. A firefighter was taken to the Mass. General Hospital after responding to the incident, according to the Boston Globe.

Harrison wrote an email to BiggerBed customers on Monday afternoon where he attached a photo of the truck engulfed in flames and explained the incident.

“I know you trusted us to deliver them before you arrived on campus, and I sincerely apologize that we let you down,” Harrison wrote. “I’m working with my factory to get more toppers made as soon as possible.”

Sam D. Cohen ’24, who ordered a BiggerBed, said his reaction changed from concern to amusement after reading the email, which was shared with hundreds of other Harvard students after it was posted anonymously on the Sidechat meme platform.

“They sent a photo of the truck on fire, and it exploded into this amazing meme,” he said.

HSA President Alexander J. Kim ’23 said HSA customers understand the freak accident.

“People have been pretty receptive to a 26ft truck burning out on the freeway, there’s really nothing you can do about it,” Kim said.

Client Harrison RT Ward ’23 said the incident was ‘just a minor inconvenience’, and he joked that it could lead to increased tension in his relationship due to his dorm’s location in the Radcliffe Quadrangle – located about a mile from the nine upper-class River Houses.

“Being in a River-Quad relationship definitely makes it harder when you don’t have a bigger bed to convince someone to come to the Quad, which is hard for sure, but it’s part of life,” said said Ward, editor of Crimson magazine. . “It was just, I think, very funny.”

Kim said despite the delay in delivering the mattress toppers, he was grateful the truck drivers were unharmed.

“It may be a once-in-a-decade event, but certainly grateful that it ended without any physical injuries or threats to driver safety,” Kim said.

—Editor Vivi E. Lu can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @vivielu_.

—Editor Leah J. Teichholtz can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @LeahTeichholtz.

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