Overnight fire clears fraternity
By the Lincoln Journal Star
If the men of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity are sleepy Friday in class, they have a real excuse. A middle-of-the-night fire at the fraternity house, 1425 R St., on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus caused UNL police to clear the house.
Firefighters were called to the house about 2 a.m. with a report of smoke coming from the basement. When they arrived, clouds of smoke were coming from the house and fire officials evacuated the building.
They found bags and bags of shredded paper burning in the basement, said Battalion 1 Deputy Fire Chief Ron Kennett. The fire was confined there.
Kennett said fraternity members had tried to put out the fire with extinguishers before calling the Fire Department. It’s better to call the experts, he said.
No injuries were reported. But after the fire was put out, and firefighters were going room to room to make sure no one was in the building, they found three students still sleeping in upstairs rooms, Kennett said.
Members were required to find other places to stay the rest of the night, said UNL Police Sgt. Koan Nissen.
UNL Police officers who also responded to the fire reported beer bottles scattered throughout the basement, Nissen said. And one officer said nearly all the fraternity members he encountered showed visible signs of alcohol consumption.
It is against university policy to have alcohol on campus, including university approved housing, such as fraternity houses, UNL Greek Affairs director Linda Schwartzkopf said.
If alcohol was being consumed in the fraternity, she said, the UNL Office of Judicial Affairs will review reports and decide whether the chapter or individuals would be charged with violating the student code of conduct.No official cause of the fire or damage estimates have been released and the investigation is ongoing.