Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cal Kappa Sigs Correct Fire Code Violations

UC Berkeley Fraternity Members Return Home

University of California in Berkeley (compiled by

Kappa Sigma fraternity members were allowed back into their house Monday at UC Berkeley after the city fire department had sent them packing last week for violating fire codes.

About 20 students from the house spent the weekend at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza, Assistant Fire Chief David Orth said.

The house violated a Berkeley law requiring fire sprinklers be installed and tested in buildings with multiple tenants, Orth said. The Berkeley law was enacted after three students died at the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity house during a fire in 1990, he said.

Orth said the Kappa Sigma house was inspected at the end of the spring semester as members were moving out for the summer. During that inspection, the department found that fire sprinklers were painted over and would not work. Last Thursday, when inspectors returned, they found that nothing had changed, Orth said.

"They (Kappa Sigma members) were told last spring not to occupy the building and lo and behold, they did," said Orth. "During the inspection Thursday we found a number of sleeping students recovering from the night before. We also found three students hiding. These are college students, but they are not smart."

The house passed an inspection by the fire department Monday afternoon.

Fraternity members and building management officials declined to comment.

The fire department Thursday also found that furniture was piled in hallways, blocking emergency exits.

"They got behind on their construction work, and they screwed it up," Orth said. "And we couldn't have them staying in the house without the sprinklers working."

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