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Fiji fire

By Special to the Miami Student
On June 7, 2013

George Simonds strolls around the house of the fraternity he helped found in 1956 and dreams of ways they can rebuild it better.

A fire gutted the Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji) house on High Street early Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend, displacing the dozen or so students who lived there during the summer term. The cause is not yet known. No one was injured.

Officials from the ATF and the Fire Marshall's office inspected the property Tuesday. The fraternity's insurance agent also inspected the structure. Simonds said the house is insured and the fraternity will rebuild.

"Our plan is to have students living in it by the 2015-2016 school year," Simonds said.  Discussions are already underway to rebuild it with the same façade of the historical house, which was built in 1829.

Simonds, a former Township trustee who owned a travel agency in Oxford, said the house was built in five different stages and once was the home of two Miami University presidents.

The section where the fire is believed to have started is between the original house and a 1963 addition. The house had good safety equipment and a loud fire alarm. Only two people were in the building when the fire was reported.

Miami University found housing for the residents of the building and helped them get clothing and computers to continue taking summer courses.

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