Where there’s smoke, there’s fire; where there’s fire, students can’t afford to ignore basic fire safety. Early Friday morning, members of Theta Chi fraternity and dozens of guests were forced to evacuate a party at the fraternity house because of multiple small fires.
According to East Lansing Fire Marshal Bob Pratt, the fire at Theta Chi, 453 Abbot Road, could have been far worse, but fortunately was contained to a single room because of the sprinkler system.
However, when investigating the fire, firefighters discovered cut smoke detector wires and a lack of fire alarms.
This incident is an example of why members of community-based housing must be more aware of basic safety and well-being. The lack of fire safety equipment betrays a lack of judgment and foresight from the members of Theta Chi.
MSU’s Interfraternity Council and must do something to make sure this unpreparedness is not the standard in other MSU fraternities and sororities.
No one is attempting to prevent students who live in any sort of community-based housing from partying and experiencing all that college life has to offer.
However, students have to show some concern for their safety and the safety of those they party with. Without the actions of the
East Lansing Fire Department, the end result of the fire at Theta Chi could have been much, much worse.
And it should not have to come down to a “much, much worse” incident for rules to be enforced. According to the MSU Interfraternity Council’s website, a “Fraternity is a group of Men who dedicate themselves to higher ideals such as Service, Leadership, Academics, and Brotherhood.”
Nothing could be more brotherly than making sure members are living in a safe environment.
Anywhere there are unprepared students, an incident like this is possible and more likely to be harmful. That’s why it’s so important for students in community-based housing to know and follow the laws concerning fire safety.
A joint effort by the council and the East Lansing Fire Department to reinspect all fraternity and sorority houses for this kind of negligence would be the sort of gesture to reassure the community about the safety of fraternities and sororities.
This is not an effort to target the greek community; if this had happened at a dorm we would be calling on the Department of Residence Life to make the same commitment with the East Lansing Fire Department.
By the time they arrive at MSU, students have the right to behave in the way they feel best. Ultimately, this is an issue of student safety. Safety need not limit freedom or fun.
Students are not entitled to be cavalier about their safety and the safety of those with whom they live. The solution is more than checking safety regulations; it needs to be a promise to take of fellow Spartans as part of a community.