Fires at 2 U of U fraternities being investigated as arson, officials say

Posted at 9:16 AM, Jul 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-03 15:16:30-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Officials are investigating fires at two fraternity houses at University of Utah as arson, Salt Lake City Fire officials said Friday morning.

At about 4:13 a.m., fire crews arrived at the Pi Kappa Alpha house, 1431 E. 100 South, to find a fire on the third floor.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze and kept it contained to one area of the house, which caused damage in the game room, according to a press release from SLC Fire.

Just 18 minutes later, SLC Fire crews responded to the Beta Theta Pi house, 70 S. Wolcott St., on a report of a fire in the basement laundry room.

When firefighters arrived, they found the sprinkler system had kept the small fire under control, the release indicated. Crews then quickly extinguished the remaining flames.

Officials say the fires are likely connected. Both fires are currently under investigation.

No injuries were reported at either incident.

The Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity sent Fox 13 this statement:

"Friday morning, at 4:13 a.m. a fire occurred at the Alpha Tau Chapter House of the Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity on the University of Utah campus. Thankfully there were no injuries and the International Fraternity appreciates the efforts and assistance by first responders and the university. University of Utah officials are working with chapter members to provide temporary housing and attend to their needs.

'We are thankful no one was hurt during this fire. Chapter members responded effectively evacuating the house and notifying the fire department. The efforts and rapid response of the fire department thankfully prevented this from becoming a tragedy,' Justin Buck said, Executive Vice President of Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity.

Additionally, the Fraternity is grateful members of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity were not injured in a fire occurring at the same time. The Fraternity is not speculating on the cause of the fires and is leaving that determination to fire department investigators and the proper authorities. The Alpha Tau Chapter members are cooperating with authorities as the fire is investigated.
The International Fraternity has been in contact with Alpha Tau Chapter leaders, their alumni, and the volunteer house corporation.

The chapter and local house corporation have insurance and the International Fraternity will work with student and alumni members as they embark on the repair of the property. Anyone with information regarding these fires should contact the Salt Lake City Fire Department."