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Early morning snack leads to kitchen fire at Delta Tau Delta House

PULLMAN, WA - Fraternity members at the Delta Tau Delta house on the Washington State University campus normally have their meals prepared for them by their cook in their house kitchen, but after a rude awakening Sunday morning, the cook is having to prepare those meals at a different house and is delivering them to the Delta's.

Sunday morning at 6:00 a.m.,members living in the Delta Tau Delta house were woken up by a fire alarm. Someone had left the stove on after cooking an early morning snack.

"The fire started here and it went to the back of the stove, it lit up," said Sam Cook, Fraternity President.

Pullman Fire Department officials said the stove had a significant amount of built up grease that hadn't been cleaned.

"That provided a good fuel source for the fire and so once it got hot enough and ignited then away it went," said Rick Dragoo, Fire Prevention Officer.

The grease flames activated the stove's hood extinguisher and a nearby sprinkler.

"That kept it from moving into the exhaust system and out and possibly maybe even up the side of the house," said Dragoo.

By the time the fire department showed up, most of the house members had gotten out, but not all.

"There was a few guys that were still asleep when the fire department came through and opened their doors," said Cook.

Fire Prevention Officer Dragoo said there are three lessons to learn from this fire.

"One," said Dragoo. "Anytime you hear that alarm system, don't ignore it. Don't wait for somebody else to move. Get up and evacuate the building. Two, regularly clean the grease from your stove and hood.
And three, make sure that you turn the oven and whatever you're using at that time off. Make sure it's completely off and also remove your pan to a cooler area of the stove."

To prevent any other close calls, the fraternity's president said he'll look into installing more fire alarms and locking the kitchen at all times.

Delta Tau Delta was one of the first WSU Greek houses to install fire extinguishers and a safety protocol before it was a requirement in 2004. So house leaders say they are glad everything worked out so well.

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