MU fraternity's fire truck damaged in arson
HUNTINGTON -- A familiar sight on 5th Avenue near Marshall University's campus is now the center of an arson investigation.
The 1967 International Engine fire truck, which sits in the front lawn of the Phi Kappa Alpha (Pike) fraternity house at 1411 5th Ave., caught fire around 12:35 a.m. Thursday morning. A propane tank was found inside the truck.
Huntington fire marshal Steve Ellis said the propane tank was placed inside the truck before it was set on fire. There is an ongoing criminal investigation with the Huntington Police Department and the Fire Marshal.
Anthony Spano, the fraternity's president, said that above everything else, he is worried about the safety of his brothers and neighbors around them.
"We want to take care of it so it doesn't escalate to people getting hurt," Spano said. "We don't know who did it, but hope it wasn't malicious to injure people. The way the fire was set, we can't be sure."
Spano said whoever set the fire doesn't realize how bad it could have been.
The truck, or "Thumper" as it is known to the fraternity, is a memorial for Edward Travis, a fraternity member who died in the 1990s, according to recent Marshall grad and Pike alumni Cameron Wadley. Thumper also sat in front of the former fraternity house across from Corbly Hall.
Spano said it remains to be seen if the truck is salvageable, but Wadley said the fraternity and alumni are going to begin campaigns to raise money to repair or replace the truck.
The current truck is not the fraternity's first, and the trucks have been bought or donated from local fire departments. Thumper was a retired truck acquired from Logan County.
Phi Kappa Alpha is the longest standing fraternity on Marshall's campus.
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