Theta Chi experiences house fire
Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2013 02:10
The Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) and the Somerville Fire Department responded yesterday to a fire at the Theta Chi fraternity house on 100 Packard Ave.
The fire, which is believed to have originated from a small window fan, began in a third floor bedroom. No injuries were reported.
Somerville Fire Chief Kevin Kelleher explained that the Somerville Fire Department received an emergency call from TUPD at 2:38 p.m. and immediately sent a first round of dispatchers to the scene.
“The fire company proceeded there and encountered a smoke condition with the sprinklers operating and requested additional assistance,” Kelleher told the Daily.
After managing the flames, the last firemen left the site at 3:55 p.m. During this time, the university sent out a public safety notice, through email, to the student body.
Theta Chi Chapter President Alex Kolodner, who witnessed the flames, explained that it was his job as leader to clear the house when the first alarm went off. After finding that the alarm was tripped on the third floor, he went up to investigate, he said.
“When I arrived on the third floor and saw the fire, I took off my jacket and beat the fire out,” Kolodner, a senior, said. “I had to leave because the smoke was too dense.”
At that point, Kolodner had thought the fire was out, he said, but in fact the heat had smoldered under the mattress. By the time firemen arrived on the scene the flames had returned.
Unfortunately, Kolodner said, the belongings of the brother who lived in the room sustained significant damage.
“The room is not looking good right now,” Kolodner said.
The damage, however, was not limited to the third floor room where the fire began. Water damage to the second floor rooms resulted from the firefighters’ efforts to put out the flames.
Brothers are restricted from reentering the house for 24 hours, Kolodner said.
Kelleher explained that both the building and electrical inspectors of the City of Somerville arrived at the home to assess the building. After he and the other inspectors make their assessment of the fire’s cause, fraternity members will be reimbursed accordingly for their lost property.
In light of Homecoming events this weekend, the brothers just want to return to the house, Kolodner said.
“Obviously returning to our house is very important to a lot of us both as a social thing and as a living situation,” he said.
Kolodner said he was very grateful to the Always Ready to Serve (ARS) Restoration Specialists working to remove damaged insulation and wiring from the walls within the next 48 to 72 hours.
“These guys in the ARS, they are very fast,” he said. “They are very good. The house is basically going to be gutted.”
Kolodner said he was also grateful to TUPD and the fire department members who stood by and managed the flames.
“[They] were joking about it while we were outside,” he said. “They’re very funny, they’re full of character.”
While Kolodner said the house fire is certainly a misfortune for the brothers, he believes it will only bring the chapter closer together.
“These challenges allow our fraternity to become stronger,” he said. “They allow us to overcome.”
Kolodner added that he hoped the fire would not define the fraternity, but that they instead would be defined by their philanthropy events and engagement in the Tufts community. At the same time, he is glad to be in such a unified relationship with his housemates.
“This allows us an opportunity to really pull together as a brotherhood and show that we can recover,” he said.