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Fire Destroys Roof At Pi Lambda Phi


Indranath Neogy--The Tech
The Pi Lambda Phi fraternity house suffered fire and water damage to the top two floors and roof late Monday night.

By Frank Dabek

A successful rush at the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity ended on a sour note when a fire broke out on the roof of the house at 450 Beacon St. last night.

No one was injured in the fire, but the damage to the house has forced residents of the top two floors into temporary housing at Ashdown House.

The fire was reported at 11:38 p.m. on Monday night, said Chief of Campus Police Anne P. Glavin. The initial report stated that the fire had been spread by the wind from papers that were being burned on the roof, but Marcus J. Ottaviano '97, president of PLP, denied that anything was being burned. He reported the burning paper to the CPs because he had "been given misinformation," he said. Ottaviano would not speculate further on the cause of the fire.

Both sources agreed that those present attempted to put out the fire with extinguishers but were unsuccessful, after which the Boston Fire Department was called and the house evacuated.

Most of the house members were celebrating downstairs the closing of the house for rush when some "saw that the roof was on fire," Ottaviano said. After the fire could not be extinguished the residents "got the hell out," he said. Ottaviano added that the fire department was "really helpful" and "sympathetic."

Damage appears to be limited to the roof and the third and fourth floors of the building, which were rendered unhabitable. Ottaviano said that a hole had been scorched through the roof and that the third and fourth floors suffered water damage from the water used to put the fire out, although residents refused reporters and photographers access to those areas of the house.

In addition, electrical power was lost on the upper floors, though it should be restored by Wednesday, Ottaviano said. The damage was "not something that can't be overcome," Ottaviano said.

The house is currently waiting for insurance estimates on the damage and hopes to re-open the damaged floors before classes begin, Ottaviano said.

Residents move to Ashdown

Most of the residents who have been displaced by the fire have been moved into temporary campus housing or are staying with friends.

The Office of Residence and Campus Activities will "make whatever arrangements are needed on a temporary basis," said Associate Dean for RCA Andrew M. Eisenmann '75. The majority of upperclassmen have been moved to Ashdown House, which is normally reserved for graduate students. Freshmen, however, have been relocated into temporary undergraduate housing.

There should be only "slight additional crowding" as a result of the displaced students, Eisenmann said. RCA "can accommodate them," Eisenmann said. He predicted that "not too much hardship" would result from the fire and that its effects would be strictly temporary.

The entire experience has helped the house come together with alumni staying to help with the cleanup and freshmen becoming involved, Ottaviano said.

The fraternity "handled [the fire] pretty effectively," said Carlos M. Covarrubias G, a former resident. The house should "be back in the swing of things by this weekend," he said.

The incident "brought about brotherhood" and was actually good in that way, said Paul Ojanen '00, a recent pledge.

Ottaviano is "proud of [the] fraternity," he said. "We did nothing wrong this is a chance to shine."

The Boston Fire Department would not comment on the fire because they do not yet have a report on the incident.