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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Cause of Friday's fire in Greek housing complex determined

A July 28 fire that burned part of a building in the Greek housing complex was caused by an electrical short or malfunction in the water pump in the roof-mounted evaporative cooler, said Darrell Smith, director of fire and emergency services at New Mexico State University.

lding is usually occupied by the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity during the school year. Four students had signed up to live in the building this fall, said Jennifer Hiatt, director of housing and residential life. They will now live on the other side of the building that was not damaged by the fire.

Hiatt said the amount of structural or internal damage to the building is not known at this time.

Firefighters from New Mexico State University and the city of Las Cruces had the fire, which started at about 11:33 a.m., under control about a half hour later. No injuries were reported.

Nine university and 17 city firefighters used six fire engines and a heavy rescue truck to contain the fire.

Smith, NMSU Police Chief Jaime Chavez, and Hiatt complimented the quick response and smooth collaboration between the city and university firefighters.

"Together, they did a stellar job of containing the fire to a small area," Hiatt said.

Bob Nosbisch
Aug. 2, 2006