Fraternity members find new homes after fire


Ben Gabrek, freshmen in Business, talks on the phone while his parents collect his possessions at the Delta Tau Delta Fraternity House at Fourth and John on Sunday, March 29th, 2009. The building caught on fire on Tuesday, March 24 due to fallen lighting in the attic.

By Mary Beth Versaci

After a fire damaged the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house, displaced students found out where they will live for the remainder of the year at a meeting on Sunday afternoon.

The house’s sophomores will be divided between the apartment complexes on 309 E. Green Street and 54 E. Chalmers Street, while the freshmen’s living arrangements will include Scott, Presby and Lundgren Halls.

“Going into the meeting, I had no idea where I was going to live,” said Andrew Rohan, freshman in FAA. “It worked out smoothly. It couldn’t have gone any better.”

Ryan Kolnick, freshman in LAS, added that the meeting on Sunday was a somber one.

“The meeting was one of the saddest things I have ever seen,” he said. “Everyone’s face was like, ‘This was the worst thing. We know what we have to do, but we don’t want to do it.'”

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Rohan and Kolnick were two of nine freshmen moving into Scott Hall after the meeting. Rohan’s roommate from the Delta House, Ben Gabrek, joined them.

“I’m not upset that I’m at the dorms, but it will be a lot different,” said Gabrek, freshman in Business. “There will be more rules, but I lived on this floor before.”

Rohan and Gabrek shared a room on the south side of the fraternity, so while their personal belongings smelled strongly of smoke, they all escaped unscathed. The north side of the house experienced the majority of the damage.

Rohan said that the worst room he saw had no ceiling because a light fixture fell down. He added that there was another room where he could see the hole the firemen cut through the ceiling to put out the fire in the attic.

Kolnick said it was hard to watch the footage of the fire on television.

“We live there, and there it is up in flames,” he said.

“It was a reality check,” added Tom Kostelny, freshman in ACES.

Kostelny said the University was helpful in planning out the fraternity members’ new living arrangements.

“It was the best case scenario,” Kostelny said. “Things could have been a lot worse.”

Barry Trilla, freshman in Business, agreed that the University was very cooperative, and alumni helped out the fraternity as well.

“They did a really good job. It was a terrible situation that happened,” he said. “(The transition) went a lot smoother than I anticipated.”

Delta Tau Delta is covering all the costs of living in the University residence halls, so the displaced students will not have to pay extra costs, Rohan and Gabrek said.

Gabrek added that they would have had to pay the difference if they moved to a private hall.

Sam Gunther, freshman in Business and one of five members moving into Presby Hall said he was grateful to the University for all of its help. Gunther added that he is confident the fraternity’s spirits will not be destroyed by the fire.

“Brotherhood will prevail through the flames of the inferno,” he said.