Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wisconsin Sig Eps House Destroyed in PM Fire

Update: Early statement from SigEp HQ

Fire Destroys UW Madison Frat House
Sean O'Flaherty

MADISON - A spectacular fire destroyed a century old frat house on Langdon Street late Monday night, but all 25 students who live their got out safely.

Three firefighters were injured battling the 2-alarm blaze, but their injuries are not life threatening.

A Madison police officer noticed flames coming from the back of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity House at 11:41 p.m. Monday.

She evacuated the residence at 237 Langdon Street and called the Communications Center.

As crews battled the fire, flames were shooting 20 feet into the air. Police estimate up to 1,000 people gathered on the surrounding streets to watch the blaze.

Langdon Street is the center of fraternity life at the University of Wisconsin.A total of 14 fire vehicles and 48 personnel were on the scene, according to the Madison Fire Department. Their was a threat of a building collapse, so the fire trucks sounded alert tones to warn the firefighters who were fighting the fire inside to immediately evacuate the building. Once everyone evacuated, they attacked the fire defensively - from the outside.

The injuries to the firefighters consisted of a minor burn, dehydration and a muscle strain.

Damage is estimated $750,000. The cause is under investigation.The Red Cross was called to the scene to help residents in need. Madison Metro also helped keep residents warm.

University of Wisconsin Dean of Students Lori Berquam was on the scene to assist the students.The same building suffered $300,000 in an early morning fire in 1999.

Another story - with pictures.