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Sprinklers Douse Fraternity House Fire

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — December 9, 2000

Chapel Hill firefighters credit a fraternity's sprinkler system for containing an overnight fire. And that system was only two days old.

No one was hurt in the fire.

The fire started around 10 p.m. Saturday at the Sigma Nu house. Officials say the fire was out even before firefighters arrived.

The sprinkler system had been installed in 1999, but was hooked up to the water supply this past Thursday -- just two days before the fire developed in a wastebasket in a second floor bedroom.

"Sprinklers did the job here at the Sigma Nu house," said Dan Jones, chief of the Chapel Hill Fire Department.

Collin Goforth, the chapter president, said he and the brothers were grateful no one was injured.

On Graduation Day in 1996, which was also Mother's Day, five students died in a fire at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity in Chapel Hill.

"(This fire) could have been just as serious," Jones said.

Fraternity and sorority houses in Chapel Hill, and other cities, are now required to install sprinkler systems.

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