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4-Alarm Fire Takes Down Fraternity House

San Jose Mercury News via YellowBrix

June 21, 2011

SAN JOSE – A four-alarm fire destroyed a fraternity house near San Jose State this morning and displaced 28 students, according to fire officials.

One firefighter suffered minor burn injuries to his hands, according to San Jose fire Capt. Mary Gutierrez. The firefighter was treated at a hospital and returned to the scene.

The 28 students who live in the Kappa Sigma fraternity house at 168 S. 11th St. near San Antonio Street safely evacuated.

Fire officials said the roof collapsed on the 20,000-square-foot building and estimated the damage at $1.7 million.

One of the students reported the fire at 3:21 a.m. Because the blaze grew to a fourth alarm, fire officials requested mutual aid from other cities to backfill three of the city’s stations. The fire was under control at 6:12 a.m.

About 7:45 a.m., firefighters were attempting to salvage some of the memorabilia such as old photos and fraternity mementos.

The students have already found places to stay through friends, family members and other fraternities, according to Kappa Sigma President Medi Gouta.

“We’re having support from other houses,” Gouta said. “Everyone has someplace to go.”

San Jose State spokeswoman Pat Lopes Harris said the university would also offer the students housing, as well as emergency financial assistance for food and clothing. She said counseling also would be available to the students.