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ISU fraternity fire daytime
Heavy fire damage at the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity house at 711 Kingsley Court in Normal is seen Wednesday morning, April 20, 2011. (The Pantagraph/STEVE SMEDLEY)

NORMAL -- Delta Sigma Phi will rebuild its fraternity house as insurance investigators continue to look for a cause of an April 20 fire that displaced 24 Illinois State University students.

Arson and lightning have been ruled out, and firefighters said the fire was accidental. With no injuries, further investigation shifted from firefighters to insurance investigators.

"We are definitely going to rebuild," said Mark Zappa, a fraternity alum who manages the building for the fraternity's national group. "I talked to the city (about it). The structure is fine. Our main concern now is going to be putting a roof on it."

After insurance work is finished, Delta Sigma Phi will hire specialists who handle smoke and water damage. Zappa, who owns a Twin City construction company, said no timeline is in place for the renovation.

The building is valued at $600,000 and about $100,000 in personal property was lost in the fire, according to a fire department report obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Normal Fire Chief Mick Humer believed the insurer sent an electrical engineer to examine the attic and electric panel. The fire was limited to the attic, but water and smoke damaged the rest of the building at 711 Kingsley Court, No. 2.

Early reports said chapter members noticed a smoking ceiling fan in a second-floor bathroom. A person outside the building saw flames and warned bystanders.

Delta Sigma Phi has 70 active members, and about a third lived at the house, located near the ISU campus.

ISU, other fraternities and sororities and the American Red Cross of the Heartland helped the displaced students with housing, meals and other needs.


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