SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – September 9, 2015 (Gephardt Daily) – The insurance company for two University of Utah fraternities is offering a $5,000 reward for information that helps officials track down an arsonist.
Firefighters said the blazes at the Beta Theta Pi and Pi Kappa Alpha houses on July 3 were deliberately set, but no-one was hurt and the fires were extinguished before crews arrived. Officials used an accelerant detection canine at the scene, and concluded the suspect used gasoline to start the fires. The suspect/s got into the houses through unlocked doors.
Nick Gilson, communications chair for Gamma Beta board of directors and Gamma Beta housing corp., said he has no doubt the perpetrator/s will be found.
“With the remodel of our chapter house that completed last year, we set out to have the safest fraternity house at the University of Utah. The fact that the fire was completely extinguished before the fire department arrived, from just around the corner, speaks to the success of that goal.
“Although there were no major injuries, we were able to identify some areas for improvement in security, and have implemented many of those already. Fraternities generally get a bad rap in our current society, but I think the fact that two houses were targeted confirms the random nature of the crime.
“The Gamma Beta chapter of Beta Theta Pi is not your ‘typical frat’ – it is a house of principled young men that just last year were featured on the Dr. Phil Show, and won the North American Interfraternal Conference’s Chapter Award of Excellence for their work with the Utah Rape Recovery Center to prevent sexual assault on campus and in the community. If it happened to us, it can happen to anyone, and that should be motivation for everyone in the community to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Anyone with information should call Salt Lake City police at (801) 799-3000.