Inspectors close Alpha Delta after fire

by Nathaniel Ward | 5/23/02 5:00am

Fire inspectors closed Alpha Delta fraternity last night as a safety precaution after an early-morning fire broke out in the furnace area of the house basement.

As of last night the immediate cause of the fire was unknown.

AD was holding a programming event attended by about 100 people when the fire broke out at approximately 12:45 a.m., fraternity president Daniel Brown '03 said. He said all those in the house evacuated safely, and no one reported any injuries.

Firefighters cut an eight-foot hole in the living room floor - located directly above the furnace - to ensure that nothing remained smoldering, and also demolished a wall in the basement, AD Corporation president John Engelman '68.

Firefighters will cover the hole in the floor with firewood until a more permanent solution can be arranged.

There was no water or smoke damage on the second and third stories - the residential floors - Engelman said, though there was some on the first floor and quite a bit in the basement.

Pending an investigation, firefighters closed the building, and allowed residents of the fraternity to return to their rooms in groups of two to gather belongings for the night.

The Office of Residential Life arranged temporary housing for residents, Dean of the College representative Daniel Nelson said in an email message to students. The length of the house closure will not be known until the investigation is complete.

Engelman said he hoped the fraternity members could return to the house "within the next day or two."

All the fire detection systems - including alarms - functioned properly, Engelman said.

In addition, hallways and emergency exits were clear of debris, Director of Residential Operations Woody Eckels said, though he cautioned that some bedrooms may have been messy enough to prevent some students from evacuating promptly had they been asleep.

Insurance inspectors will visit the house today to determine the extent of the damages, Engelman said, adding that the house "is fully covered as far as I can tell."

The alarm brought seven fire trucks from three jurisdictions and two ambulances to the scene. Police closed East Wheelock Street until the fire equipment could be moved.