Louisiana Frat House Halloween Decorations Hinder Firefight

October 11, 2011

A fire captain battling a three-alarm blaze injured his shoulder when he fell through a floor early Sunday at an off-campus Tulane University fraternity house where Halloween decorations hindered firefighting, the New Orleans Fire Department said.

None of the residents was injured in the fire that broke out early Sunday at the Zeta Psi house, said Capt. Edwin Holmes Jr., a department spokesman.

“Tarps and debris used for decorations inhibited suppression efforts by making it difficult for fire personnel to find walls and doorways hidden behind the black tarp,” he said in a news release.

The firefighter was resting at home Sunday after treatment at a hospital, and another firefighter returned to service after treatment for exhaustion and dehydration, Holmes said.

He said the fire apparently started in or around the kitchen. One resident told investigators that when he heard the fire alarm he “came downstairs to find the entire kitchen in flames,” Holmes said.

He said flames engulfed the two-story building when the first truck arrived but the fire was controlled in about 90 minutes.

The building is on a part of Broadway St. known as Tulane’s Fraternity Row.

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