LA Tech frat houses to be inspected following fire

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What started as a small fire in the fireplace quickly spread throughout the entire Pi Kappa Alpha house near the Louisiana Tech campus.

On Saturday, students told KSLA News 12 they thought it was caused by a group of guys burning old class notes. Eric Brazzel with the Ruston Fire Department says some of the members of the fraternity were burning notes to celebrate the end of classes, but they don't think that alone is what caused the extensive damage.

"The students did say that they had a fire in the fireplace going, and they were just commemorating the school year by getting rid of their old notes. There's nothing wrong with that. There's no problems with that. We do feel like there may be a structural component with the fireplace or chimney that might have let the fire extend into the wall space there around the fireplace," says Brazzel.

He added that part of the metal box for the fire place may have decayed. A fire place expert will be brought in to help with the investigation later this week. Brazzel says he can remember a few other fires at different Louisiana Tech fraternity houses. He expects the Louisiana Fire Marshal's Office will do inspections on the greek houses there later this week, as well as help out with the investigation into the Pi Kappa Alpha fire.

Louisiana Tech says because the fire happened off campus, their only involvement so far has been trying to find temporary housing for the 6 young men who lived in the house.

Drake Mills, a Pike alum, was one of the first pledges to move into the house about 40 years ago. "I can remember early on how great it was to have a fraternity house that was located on campus," says Mills.

Now, Mills' son is the treasurer of the fraternity, and the rubble that is left of the house holds lots of memories for both of them. "As long as we can get the composites and charter and all those things, that's actually in this end of the house, we're hoping that can be rescued," says Mills.

The fraternity plans to rebuild, and members say they are thankful for all the support they've gotten from the community.

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