Friday, May 28, 2010

Fire Destroys Clemson Fraternity House

Fire destroys off-campus fraternity house

Fire damaged the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity house at 113 Calhoun St.

An early morning fire destroyed Alpha Gamma Rho's off-campus fraternity house at 113 Calhoun St. in the city Thursday. Six undergraduate students were living there for the summer, and all were out of the building and safe when firefighters arrived.

The emergency call came in to Clemson University Fire Department, which also provides fire services for the city, at 7:21 a.m. When firefighters arrived at 7:30 a.m., the 7,921-square-foot house was engulfed in flames. Thirty firefighters from the university and Town of Central fire departments worked throughout the morning to contain the fire. Aid was also received from Oconee County fire Station 3.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, but officials said there is no evidence that the fire was set intentionally, and no criminal investigation is under way.

Clemson University Student Affairs and American Red Cross representatives were on site to help the affected students. Student Affairs staffers will meet with the six students to determine their needs, including assistance with replacement items and counseling services.

Anyone who wants to assist Clemson students who find themselves in emergency situations, such as a fire, can contribute to the Student Emergency Fund in care of the Clemson University Foundation, PO Box 1889, Clemson, SC 29633.

Thirty-seven students were scheduled to live in the AGR house in the fall. Individuals or agencies who want to offer accommodations to displaced AGR members can email the university housing office at The housing staff will pass the information on to the fraternity adviser and president.

Fraternity members interested in living on campus can use that same email address or call 864-656-2295 and identify themselves as AGR members for assistance.

The agriculture-related Alpha Gamma Rho chapter was founded in 1974 at Clemson University and has 48 active members.

"This is an outstanding chapter that just was recently recognized during the chapter excellence awards program," said Eli Ker, Clemson's associate director of fraternity and sorority life. "The chapter had fire drills during the spring semester and had just recently changed all the batteries in the smoke detectors."

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