- Associated Press - Saturday, October 22, 2016

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Two fraternities at the University of Missouri-Columbia have gotten another extension to continue housing students without installing fire sprinkler systems.

Kappa Alpha Order and Delta Tau Delta have fire extinguishers and smoke detectors but no sprinkler systems in violation of a 2009 ordinance passed by the Columbia City Council, Columbia Assistant Fire Chief Brad Fraizer said.

The ordinance came after Dominic Passantino, a Sigma Chi fraternity member, died in 1999 in a fire. His mother told the City Council in 2008 a sprinkler system could have saved her son’s life.

The council voted last year to give six fraternities until June 1 to install systems. The two remaining fraternities have submitted plans to the Columbia Fire Department to be in compliance with the ordinance by June 1, 2019. Fraizer said if they don’t meet the new deadline they will have to pay fines or could lose their housing permit.

“This is the absolutely last extension,” he said. “Essentially it comes down to funding,” Fraizer said.

A sprinkler system can cost an estimated $100,000 for a house to install, The Columbia Missourian (https://j.mp/2eOOSqp ) reported.

Breck Anderson, president of Delta Tau Delta’s housing corporation, said the fraternity is waiting to install the new sprinkler system when its new house is built. He said construction could begin in May 2018.

“It didn’t make any sense to install the system and then tear down the house within a couple of years,” he said.

Jesse Lyons, assistant executive director for advancement for Kappa Alpha Order’s national governing organization, said the Missouri chapter intends to meet the new deadline by building a new house.

“The extension was requested to give the corporation additional time to organize resources to comply with the new codes,” he said in a statement. “Our chapter housing corporation fully intends to meet the agreement in the extension timeline.”

In the meantime, the two fraternities will undergo frequent, unannounced fire inspections and fire alarm drills.


Information from: Columbia Missourian, https://www.columbiamissourian.com

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