NORMAN — Firefighters retrieved eyeglasses, coats and other essentials Wednesday for women displaced by a fire that erupted the night before at the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority house near the University of Oklahoma campus.
About 61 women were evacuated safely, but the house at 930 Chautauqua Ave. has significant interior damage, said Deputy Fire Chief Jim Bailey.
Firefighters responded to calls from the house about 10:45 p.m. Tuesday, the deputy fire chief said.
“Flames were showing through the roof when firefighters arrived, but all the girls were outside and safe. They were alerted by alarms and helped outside by a couple of police officers who got there before us,” Bailey said.
The women spent the night mainly at other sorority houses or with friends. One parent who drove in from Tulsa early Wednesday said her daughter spent the night with several other women at Embassy Suites after a local mother arranged a room for them.
Sorority members and the housemother were told not to discuss the fire with the media. All inquiries were referred to the sorority's international headquarters in Indianapolis.
“Thankfully, all of the women who were living in the facility are safe and accounted for,” said Jill Harter, international director of communications and marketing for the sorority. “The international organization is working with our Alpha Gamma Delta chapter at OU, volunteers and campus professionals to support the chapter during this challenging time.”
The three-story brick house sustained about $500,000 worth of damage, Bailey said, much of it water and smoke damage. He estimated about $250,000 worth of damage to contents.
“We did an aggressive attack inside the house and were able to extinguish the fire in about 30 minutes. It took another hour and half to make sure all the hot spots were out,” he said.