The Delta Pi fraternity chapter house at 4015 Walnut St. sunk into the ground 12 feet below the street last night. Officials at Facilities & Real Estate Services believed that the rain from the weekend caused the disaster.
Water that bubbled from the basement has covered the surface of the frat house. Cracks had snaked across the walls. The house is still visibly sinking slowly.
All 32 brothers had relocated to the Pottruck Gym for Sunday evening, after receiving an evacuation warning from the Division of Public Safety. Penn Police secured DP last night after 2 a.m. No one was allowed to take personal belongings from the house, in case a sudden complete collapse of the house occurred.
“I was watching TV in the house, and I felt that [it] started to slowly sink into the ground. I was kinda freaked out, but I thought it was just me,” said Jim Locke, a Wharton sophomore and DP brother.
“The frat dog jumped into the basement and I thought he would crawl back out, but I haven’t seen him since then,” Lock added.
After consulting with other brothers, who also claimed to have felt a sinking feeling, they exited the building immediately and dialed 911.
Officials at the FRES believed that the lack of repair and maintenance has made the house vulnerable to heavy rain in the recent week.
“I have never seen something like this in my career. It’s beyond our capacity to repair,” said FRES official Vince Sharpe. “It’s a tragedy, really.”
The disaster raised question on the lack of maintenance of fraternity houses on campus in general. Some other fraternity houses on Spruce and Walnut streets have been placed under surveillance.
In the past two months, seven fraternity houses and one sorority house have filed repair reports. Issues include moaning toilets, overflowing laundry machines and mice breaking bottles of alcoholic drinks.
The University plans to install detectors and cameras in Greek houses to combat overcrowded parties, illegal alcohol consumption, loud music playing and unprotected sex. This announcement follows the Daily Pennsylvanian’s discovery of the existence of SPEC-Reconnaissance, which spies on students’ music tastes.
The 32 DP brothers will live in Eminent Commander Taylor Culliver’s Rodin apartment for the remainder of the week. They do not yet have alternative house options after the week.
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