Monday, February 22, 2010

Electrical Fire at ZBT at U Penn

Nobody hurt in electrical fire at ZBT

by Victor Gamez, Jared McDonald and Samantha Sharf

Smoke was seen coming from the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity house at 39th and Spruce streets Wednesday morning.

Several fire trucks and various security personnel surrounded the house. At about 11 a.m., the smoke appeared to have stopped.

Penn Police Chief Mark Dorsey said the cause of the fire is still under investigation. However, he said, it appears to have been an electrical fire started in an electrical room. There were no injuries and the building is now being ventilated.

Chief of Fire and Emergency Services Eugene Janda said the fire appears to have started in a first floor electrical room.

A representative from the Philadelphia Fire Commissioner's Office said it could be 24 hours before the investigation is complete and the cause of the fire is released.

There were 16 brothers and two cooks in the house when the fire began. Everyone inside evacuated to the lobby of Harrison College House after ZBT's fire alarm sounded, Janda said.

According to Janda, a member of the Facilities and Real Estate Services staff was passing the house when the fire started. He entered and tried to put out the fire with the help of one of the cooks, but was unsuccessful and had to evacuate the house.

College sophomore and ZBT brother Jon Schwartz said he believe the fire was contained to one room but smoke filled the house quickly.

Wharton junior and outgoing ZBT president Joe Schinco said everyone in the house exited safely.

“There was a small electrical fire in the basement. Everyone is fine, everyone got out and there were no injuries,” Larry Moses, program coordinator with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, said. He added that OFSA hopes to get the ZBT brothers back in their house today or tomorrow.

Moses added that Director of Facilities Tom Hauber made arrangements for Houston Market and Einstein Bagels to provide meals to the brothers.

Assignments editor Dana Vogel contributed reporting to this article.

http://thedp.com/article/nobody-hurt-electrical-fire-zbt