A fire at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Sigma Sigma Sigma (Tri Sigma) Sorority House, was reported at approximately 10:44 this morning, March 21, 2014. One of the sorority sisters was transported to the hospital for smoke inhalation. All 23 occupants were displaced because of heavy smoke and water damage.
When it was initially reported, the fire was small, but by the time the fire department arrived, it had grown considerably. The fire occurred on the first floor of the house and fire damage was limited to a single room. The cause of the fire is currently listed as undetermined. Whitewater firefighters were assisted by fire and EMS personnel from Elkhorn, Fort Atkinson La Grange, Janesville, Jefferson, Walworth County Sheriff’s Department, Whitewater Police Department, and the Walworth County Arson Task Force.
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Web site lists Tri Sigma as an official, university sanctioned Greek organization. Wisconsin fire code dictates that all buildings that are used by university sanctioned fraternities and sororities, if built before January 7, 2006, were required to have sprinkler systems installed by January 1, 2014. The property owners were in the process of installing fire sprinklers in the house–nearly three months after the deadline–however the incomplete system was not operational at the time of the fire.