Local News

Duke, Durham Fire Officials Look Into Post-Game Bonfire

Posted February 7, 2008 6:01 p.m. EST
Updated February 7, 2008 9:30 p.m. EST

— Duke University officials are trying to determine who started a celebratory bonfire on campus late Wednesday after the Blue Devils beat archrival University of North Carolina on the Tar Heels home court.

Durham firefighters quickly extinguished the fiery celebration, noting that the students didn't have a permit for a bonfire. Durham Fire Department officials said they plan to meet with Duke administrators about the incident.

"It's unfortunate that they attempted to have a bonfire when we didn't have a permit," said Larry Moneta, Duke's vice president for student affairs. "To the extent that we can identify who began the fire, we will take appropriate action."

Moneta didn't elaborate on what kind of disciplinary action, if any, would be taken.

Bonfires have been a tradition at Duke following big victories. University administrators and Durham fire authorities said they aren't against the fires, but authorities said a permit is needed so firefighters have some advance notice and can keep the fire from getting out of control.

"This was not one of the games that the students have chosen to have a bonfire. We may have to revisit that if, in fact, there is a desire for a bonfire when we win at Chapel Hill," Moneta said.

Meanwhile, plans are in the works for a similar party on campus when UNC visits Duke next month.

"Come back on March 8 and watch us do a bonfire the right way," he said with a chuckle.