[caption id="attachment_5260" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Phi Delta Alpha fraternity after an early morning fire caused significant damage between the second and third floors. (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)"][/caption]
A fire at Dartmouth's Phi Delta Alpha fraternity early Sunday, January 10 caused no injuries but did extensive damage and has displaced the 25 men residing in the house. Alternate campus housing has been found for all.
The fraternity house is a three-story building located on campus at 5 Webster Avenue. The third-floor fire alarm in the house went off at 5:26 a.m. The alarm activated an automatic sprinkler system, and all those in the building evacuated safely. The Hanover Fire Department responded along with fire departments from the towns of Lebanon and Lyme in New Hampshire and Norwich and Hartford, in Vermont. Staff from Dartmouth's Office of Safety and Security also responded. The fire department declared the fire to be out about 7 a.m.
Hanover Fire Department officials are still working to make final determinations of the cause of the fire and the full extent of damage (mainly from water), but have told the College that it appears the facility cannot be reoccupied this term, and perhaps not until after the end of this academic year.
Acting Dean of Students Sylvia Spears said, "Our first concern is of course the safety and well-being of the students, and we are working in a variety of ways to help them. We have been able to relocate all the students in other Dartmouth residences and we have been able to keep roommates together. They are being provided with meals, personal items and laundry service as needed. The students are also receiving academic and personal counseling, and the Dean of the College Office is in the process of contacting their parents. We are also contacting faculty for the classes the various students are taking, to make sure they are aware of the situation. We will continue to do whatever is necessary to be sure the students can continue their activities at Dartmouth as normally as possible."
Spears also noted the prompt and skillful response of the Hanover Fire Department and other firefighters. "They did an extraordinary job and made a difficult situation much easier for all involved," she said. "In fact, they did such a wonderful job that when Hanover Fire Department officials met with the students later in Parkhurst Hall [the main adminstrative building at Dartmouth], the students gave them a standing ovation. The rest of the College appreciates their efforts just as much."