Jimmy Schementi

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Theta Chi on Fire

22 Sep 2004

Theta Chi - Epsilon Chapter, on fire

My life and the life of 30 of my closest friends has been flipped upside-down. Hopefully for better, but it's very tough right now.

This past Sunday morning (2:15am ish) I was getting ready for bed. I had just finished my OOAD hw, and had changed into PJs. Just as I was getting ready to hop into my lofted bed, I heard a squeel, a huge bang, and then alot of light outside my window. I thought to myself, "Who shot a firecracker at my window???!". I looked out my window not to see sparks, but flames passing my window and illuminating the side of my fraternity house, Theta Chi, Epsilon Chapter.

This rediculous site made me immediately grab whatever clothes I could get my hands on, my wallet, of course I forgot my phone, and I grabbed my laptop. Right as I was out my door Mike came out of his room with his laptop and saxaphone yelling, "Let's get the fuck out of here!". Mind you, this is 2AM. Very cold and I didn't have a shirt. So, Mike and I leave our valubles outside and run back into the house to make sure everyone is out. We handled ourselves very well, but it was the scariest thing I've ever experienced.

So, now we were outside, watching the side of our house burn. Flames 3 stories+ high, tearing into our home. The fire department took 5 minutes to get there, and another 15 to take out the fire. During this time, the story of what happened unfolded.

"Someone" decided he was sober enough to drive home from a night of drinking. He was wrong. Going pretty fast on Salisbury street, he swerved to avoid a slower car infront of him. After realizing that the house was approaching, he tried to make the turn ... and failed. He lost control of the car as it bairly missed a fire hydrant, plowed through our fence and bushes, and hit a 2x2 foot square where our main gas line comes into the house. He thankfully got right out, but almost right after the gas lit of fire creating the wall of red and green fire we all saw out of our windows.

It was made pretty clear that we weren't going to be sleeping there that night. Mostly all the fraternities offered their help with housing and food for the night. I slept at Lambda Chi on a futon for the night. Also, the longest night of my life. I didn't get to bed until 5am ... and I only slept until 10am. I woke up, wrote the Lambda Chi brother who took me in a note thanking him, and walked right to the house to figure out what is going on.

Damage

Path to destruction

The damage is pretty bad, and across many categories. First off, fire damage. The side the car hit has a 10 foot wide by 3 stories high scorching. Luckily the fire never perpetuated into the house. However, the whole house got pretty smoky. Mostly the 3rd floor, but the entire house is pretty smoke damaged. Also, when the fire fighters came in, they broke everyone's doors, and taired down many walls. Lastly, the water damage in the house is significant. The sprinklers where the fire was went off, soaking mostly everything in the area. Also, the fire hose water broke windows and also let water in that way.

So, what's our plan of action? We'll, let me give you first a little history on our Chapter house. It was origionally build in the 1900's, as a Victorian house. In 1960, the outside facade was changed and an extension was put on to house more brothers. So, essentially the house is 2 seperate structures linked together. The old section contains our living room, pool table, 2nd floor commons, and 3rd floor party area and library. The new section contains our dining room, kitchen, and living space. This is basically how the structure stands today. Now, all the damage (except smoke and doors) is contained in the "old" house. Most of the brothers (except 5) live in the "new" house. The plan is to move all brothers into the new house, while blocking us off from the old house. Then the old house become's a construction site, and we live like this until the old section is completely remodeled. This will take anywhere from 6 months to a year.

Nomad

Thanks Tiff!

Here's the catch. They need 1-2 weeks before they can safely divide the house. So now, we're are homeless ... nomads if you will ... living wherever we can find a bed. I've arranged for WPI to give us lunch and dinner, which helps ... but it's still challenging. Sofar I've lived in 3 beds in 3 nights ... going on my 4th night. I'm planning on spending only 2 nights max at my friend's places so they don't get sick of me =P. I figured when do I get to be nomadic in my life?

It's hard. I've had 2 midterms during this time, but I studies my butt off for them. Mike and I have put Schementec on hold, but are trying to relocate our servers to somewhere with power. I've still kept up with the GDC, but it's hard. My brothers spend all day on campus cause we have no where to go. The sympathy is nice, but a house would be nicer :).

Anger?

Now, am I mad at the person who hit our house? Not really, because for one I have to worry about getting my life back together first before I can worry about anyone else. Secondly, his dumb move is getting us a new house, so I can't be that angry. He has so many things going for him; electrical enginneer almost ready to graduate, really funny and nice kid, and his one messup was a HUGE one. I feel that when you have a relationship with someone, your view on the situation from the outside is completely swayed. A lot of people feel him not getting punished for this is a terrible thing. I won't comment on that. He's still alive, and he didn't take anyone's life. That's really all that matters.

Ok, if you have any concerns about this please get in touch with me. I'll be happy to let you know how I'm doing.

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