Delta Gamma suffers fire during break

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Sophomore Keri Peterson is still waiting on her clothes to be returned from the dry cleaner’s after they got ruined in the fire in her room at Delta Gamma Fraternity over fall break.

On Thursday Oct. 23, Facilities Management was doing routine maintenance work when the air conditioning unit in Peterson’s room, which she shared with sophomore Laurel O’Rourke and senior Clare Hasken, caught fire. The cause for the fire has yet to be determined.

Facilities Management workers put out the fire almost immediately and the damages did not spread further than the one room.

Delta Gamma Fraternity Executive Director Tracey Doebling Williams released the following statement regarding the incident:

“Delta Gamma Fraternity is working closely with regional volunteers and the local house corporation to ensure that repairs are made safely and in compliance with all regulations to the Gamma Iota house…. The damage to the home was caused mostly by the fire suppression system, which worked as it was designed. Delta Gamma regional and local volunteers ensured the house was functional and welcoming for our women returning to campus from fall break. Delta Gamma is hopeful that all repairs will be completed in a timely manner.”

O’Rourke and Peterson said none of their personal items suffered any fire damage, but the sprinkler system and the smoky smell ruined many of their belongings, including textbooks, clothing and pictures.

The three roommates were allowed to return to campus on Saturday to look through the room and see what they wanted to salvage. O’Rourke said Delta Gamma has been helpful, in that they offered to replace her textbooks, dry clean her clothes and house her and her roommates in the guest room of the Delta Gamma house and other extra space until the room is redone.

“Facilities Management] didn’t really want to make the call on throwing away my personal things, which I really appreciate,” she said. “They’ve emailed all my professors, they helped me because I lost all my textbooks so they gave me some money for textbooks…. The CLCD [Campus Living and Community Development] office just had this open door policy that if I ever need anything that I can go talk to them, and that’s been very useful.”

Despite the support, Peterson and O’Rourke both recognized that their situation is not exactly ideal.

“I mean it’s a situation that nobody wants to be in,” Peterson said. “I was obviously upset, but the Delta Gamma House Corps did a god job communicating with me.”

“It wasn’t really real because when I got the call, I was kind of in shock and didn’t know what to do….” added O’Rourke. "It was just stressful and a pain to come back and have to sort through everything while doing class work and stuff, but everyone’s been super helpful.”

Peterson also said she has felt supported during this incident.

“A lot of my sisters reached out to me when they first found out and they were just really supportive,” she said. “We’re just really glad that nobody got hurt, and that’s the most important thing, and DG is working hard to fix the situation and fix the room and the staff has been awesome.”