Frat roof collapses on Row

Officials don't know why a 10- by-25-foot section of Lambda Chi Alpha's roof collapsed

Steffi Lau and Jennifer Smith
Daily Trojan
September 17, 2008

The roof of a fraternity house on The Row collapsed Tuesday night, causing major structural damage and flooding but no injuries.

At 6:06 p.m., residents reported that the roof of Lambda Chi Alpha's house on 28th Street had partially caved in. Department of Public Safety officers and the Los Angeles Fire Department responded immediately, DPS Capt. John Thomas said.

Lambda Chi president John Menist estimated that a 10-by-25-foot section of the roof gave out above an empty upstairs lounge, forcing gas and water pipes to burst. Water spread throughout the house, with major flooding in at least five rooms on the west side of the building.

"The water was flowing at an extremely fast rate," Menist said. "It was like the Titanic."

Fraternity members rushed to put bath towels down on their floors to soak up the water.

Firefighters said the effort to curb the flooding was successful in minimizing damage.

The university-owned building is more than a decade old and has no previous reports of damage, Menist said.

Firefighters deemed the building unsafe for the night. But DPS officers allowed groups of five residents at a time to enter the building and collect their belongings.

DPS was set to work with the Interfraternity Council to ensure house residents hsd a safe place to stay for the night, said John Legittino, public relations director for the IFC.

Thomas said DPS officers would be stationed at the building throughout the night to guard valuables.

Emergency contractors will evaluate the structural integrity of the building today, Legittino said, and blowers will be used to evaporate the water.

Legittino said it is still unclear when the residents can return.

©2014-2015 Steffi Lau. All rights reserved.