Two UNC fraternities were cited for a number of fire code violations that greatly exceeded that of other houses during the spring 2002 semester.
Though officials call the numbers troubling, they say efforts are under way to fix the problems.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon was cited for 49 fire code violations, and Zeta Psi was cited for 27, according to a report from UNC's Office of Greek Affairs. The average for all houses was 5.7 violations.
Jay Anhorn, Greek affairs director, said he is troubled by last semester's violations. "I'm definitely concerned about the groups that have large numbers."
Anhorn said the problems were cited by the Chapel Hill Fire Department on a scheduled first visit in the spring. If any violations are noted during routine visits, the department returns within a couple of weeks. "They have to clarify and fix all the problems," Anhorn said.
Officials from the Chapel Hill Fire Department and Zeta Psi fraternity could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Charlie Farris, president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, said most of his chapter's 49 violations are from holes in the walls of the house, each of which counts as a violation. But he said the sheer amount of violations requires the fraternity to take actions. "Forty-nine violations is ridiculous," he said.
Anhorn said his department is taking steps to improve fire code compliance at UNC's fraternities and sororities.
This year, each house's president must attend mandatory fire training with the group's fire marshal, who was required to attend in the past.
Fire code violations have been a topic of much discussion since a fire at the Phi Gamma Delta house killed five students in 1996. Following the fire, the Chapel Hill Town Council ordered that all Greek houses install fire sprinklers by November of last year.
Council member Dorothy Verkerk said she is disappointed that the fraternities still record high numbers of violations. "It's disheartening that, despite our vigilance, people aren't taking this seriously," she said.
Alcohol violations also were listed in the Greek report. Both Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Zeta Psi were two of the three fraternities cited for alcohol violations in the spring semester; Kappa Alpha was the other fraternity cited.
When asked if there is any possible connection between the alcohol citations and the fire code violations, Anhorn said, "You can draw your own conclusions about that."
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