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Volume 7, Issue 2                                    University of Houston

Fire damages 68-year old fraternity house

No one is injured in blaze; house will be demolished 
to make way for new home

By Tina Marie Macias
The Daily Cougar

Eleven members of Phi Kappa Theta fraternity lost their home when a fire damaged their house last week.

No one was in the fraternity house, at 4450 South MacGregor Way, when the electrical fire began in member Joel Stell's room at about 1 a.m. on Dec. 12. The room was completely destroyed, and Stell's dog died in the fire, PKT president Thushan Perera said.

The house was built in 1936, Perera said, and attributed the fire to old wiring. The rest of the house suffered smoke and water damage with many electronics destroyed.

Pin Lim/Breaking News

Now abandoned, the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity house was damaged by fire on Dec. 12. The fire, which killed a residentís pet dog, was likely caused by old wiring, PKT president Thushan Perera said.

"It's fortunate that (the fire) happened this late in the semester where all that's left is maybe a few finals," PKT member Jason Short said.

"One room caught on fire, but it was the room directly above mine," Short said. "So when they turned the 10,000 gallons of water on the house ... it went straight through the floor and it went straight into my room."

Short, who is also a staff writer for The Daily Cougar, said he lost his electronics, but most of his clothing should be salvageable.

"After the firemen got done, they let (fraternity members) go in the house, and they went in my room and grabbed as much as they could and threw it into another room in the house that wasn't wet," Short said.

The PKT alumni chapter is working on finding housing for the members displaced by the fire, alumni president Brant Wallis said. 

"We're staying with friends right now," Short said. "During the break we normally only go home for a week, so now we'll just have to stay home for a month -- a month with the parents."

The house will be demolished, and a new one will be built and finished in time for the Fall 2005 or Spring 2006 semester, Wallis said.

He said help from the University community would be greatly appreciated. Donations can be sent to PKTAA at P.O. Box 571556 Houston, TX 77257-1556.

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