East Lansing Fire Keeps Up With Frat House Inspections

By: Katie Kim Email
By: Katie Kim Email

MSU Junior Bryant Morrison and his fraternity brothers are moved in to a new house.

"It's a lot of fun living with your best friends," Morrison says.

The guys were members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon -- a fraternity that has since been disbanded. They lived in a house bearing their greek letters last year.

"It was an older building, not too rundown," says Morrison. "It was liveable."

Liveable, but was it safe?

"They get a housing inspection every year, they get a fire inspection every year," says East Lansing Fire Marshal Bob Pratt.

Pratt tells us MSU's 13 sorority and 24 fraternity houses are older properties that require careful attention.

"We want to make sure every sleeping room has a smoke detector," says Pratt. "We want to make sure large houses, anything licensed for 8 and above, have an alarm system."

Fire officials also look for engineering flaws, in an effort to avoid situations like the one earlier this week at a Western Michigan University frat house. Pratt says there may have been problems on the second floor deck that caused a woman to fall and hit her head on the pavement. She is listed in critical condition.

"At universities, issues come up and the tragedy at Western is a perfect example of that," says Pratt.

Pratt says much of the responsibility falls on tenants. He tells us residents must be aware of unsafe conditions.

"If you have electrical issues, an outlet that's not working, a fire alarm system that's not function, call the fire department," says Pratt. "We'll be more than happy to help you problem solve it."

He says keeping university students safe is the fire department's top priority.

Pratt says the larger the house, the bigger the threat to fire damage, so fraternities and sororities should take extra caution. He tells us ELFD responded to several house fires last year. Most of them were preventable.

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