The Albuquerque Fire Department was dispatched to 1705 Mesa Vista to contain a blaze in the early hours of Feb. 23.
According to AFD, no injuries were reported and the fire has not spread. There is still no further information at the time of publication as to what caused the fire. Part of that is because the structure was a former Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house, one of many Greek houses currently vacant.
There are currently six abandoned Greek houses on Greek row, but the only one owned and managed by the University is the one that caught fire, said Greg Golden, Greek Life activities director.
“The University is considering a lot of different options but they have not yet decided on what they are going to do with the property yet,” said Golden.
The chapter houses are abandoned for different reasons, Golden said.
A spray painted and shuttered fraternity house remains looming on Sigma Chi Road near main campus on Tuesday evening. Six Greek houses in the area are vacant, a possible safety concern for students who live nearby.
“Sigma Alpha Epsilon was ... part of UNM a couple of years ago (but) was banned from the University for multiple reasons, leaving their chapter house vacant,” he said.
Another of the abandoned structures is the Alpha Chi Omega house. The sorority is still an active chapter at UNM, but they do not use their chapter house for financial reasons, Golden said.
The rest of the abandoned Greek houses are privately owned by either the housing core for the chapter that once owned the property, or a third party, Golden said. There is no way for the University to tell what will become of the houses that it does not own, as that decision is completely up to the property’s owner.
“Since the University does not own the other facilities, we don’t have much of a say or much information on it,” Golden said.
With the abandoned Greek life houses on Sigma Chi Road, the possibility of intruders can be a safety concern for the University, and especially for Greek members currently living in the chapter houses in the area.
UNMPD Lieutenant Tim Stump said the buildings are patrolled regularly by UNMPD because they are abandoned and thus susceptible to trespassing.
“We have caught people inside the buildings in the past who were homeless. It does not happen often. There are a lot of shelters nearby. If we come across homeless lingering by the abandoned buildings, we offer them shelters,” Stump said.
Golden said UNM consistently ensures security to students who live in the area.
“All of our facilities that are operational, that have a sorority or fraternity down on Mesa Vista and Sigma Chi, are very safe spaces, and campus police are frequently patrolling through those spaces,” he said. “Ultimately, I feel students feel supported by the University, and safe there,” said Golden.
Denicia Aragon is a staff reporter with the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com on Twitter @dailylobo.