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Archive for Friday, April 27, 2012

25 years ago: Fire causes extensive damage to fraternity house

April 27, 2012

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for April 27, 1987:

A fast-moving fire had caused at least $250,000 in damage to the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house, 1645 Tennessee, on the previous afternoon. Fire chief Jim McSwain said that the extensive damage might have been somewhat averted, perhaps contained to one or two rooms, if the fraternity members had acted more quickly to call the fire department instead of trying to extinguish the blaze themselves. However, he said that the damage could have been much worse, saying that if it had happened at night instead of on a Sunday afternoon, "I would say this would be one of our bigger tragedies in Lawrence." No fraternity members had been injured, but five firefighters had suffered minor injuries. Fire Chief McSwain also said that a fire inspector's report from a few months earlier had shown fire hazards in the house, including the improper use of extension cords and "electrical cords ... being wrapped around bed frames and tied in knots."

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