Sparking wires lead to frat house evacuation

A knocked-over utility pole caused wires to spark throughout the house.

Update: Monday Nov. 8 3:46pm:

A Mizzou fraternity was evacuated Tuesday at 12:31 p.m. after an accident involving a power line.

A food delivery truck knocked down the main electrical line into the Tau Kappa Epsilon house on Stewart Road.

The main electricity line was pulled away between a power pole and the fraternity building by delivery truck. Fraternity members said the truck delivers food to their house at least once a month. They can TMt understand how the power line was low enough to collide with the truck during this delivery.

House Director John Fabsits said, It pulled it away from the house causing a surge in the power and then having some potential smoke inside the house.

When firefighters first arrived on the scene, they could hear the sound of fire alarms and smoke detectors. Fraternity members were already in the process of evacuating the building.

Firefighters inspected the house with thermal imaging equipment to check for hot spots. The wiring produced smoke and no flames.

Columbia Fire Battalion Chief Steve Sapp said, We had smoke which means we had sources that were hot enough to produce it. They were coming from various electrical fixtures in the basement and reportedly on the third floor. Wiring runs throughout a house. Anytime you get a surge through that wiring, you have the potential for it to go, literally, hundreds of places.

About 30 people were evacuated. No one was hurt.

Fraternity leaders are preparing for temporary housing in case electricity is not restored.

Original Story:

A Mizzou fraternity house is without power after a delivery truck knocked over a utility pole.

The call came in at 12:30 Tuesday of smoke inside the Tau Kappa Epsilon house. When firefighters arrived about 50 fraternity members already were outside because their smoke detectors were going off.

Fire officials said when the truck hit the utility pole it dislodged the feeder line that runs throughout the entire multi-story house. This caused the wiring in the building to spark a bit and smoke.

Firefighters are using infrared cameras to check for hot spots. So far they have not found any areas that may spark into a fire.

Columbia Water and Light has turned the house's power off and it will stay that way until the building passes inspection.

Battalion Chief Steve Sapp said he's not sure how long that will take and the frat members may have to find somewhere else to stay tonight.

Sapp said the wiring in the building is so old they want to make sure it's safe.