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Published: Tuesday, 12/10/2002

Frat house fire caused by candle

BOWLING GREEN - Bowling Green State University and city fire officials are investigating a blaze Saturday that was sparked during an initiation ceremony at a campus fraternity house.

Lt. Bill Moorman said yesterday an unattended candle ignited a sheet on a nearby couch, destroying the couch, charring the carpet, and causing smoke damage throughout the two-story, brick Pi Kappi Phi house.

He said about 20 candles were lit in the game room, where an initiation ceremony was taking place about 5:30 a.m. Several smoke detectors had been covered, though one alarm did sound, which alerted campus police who in turn called the fire department.

Student Tony Bongiorno, 22, of Centerville, Ohio, was treated at Wood County Hospital for second-degree burns on his hands and arms sustained when he tried to put out the fire, Lieutenant Moorman said.

He said the fraternity had the required permit for burning candles in a university-owned building, but the three-day permit expired several hours before the fire.

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