“Once a Pike, Always a Pike:” Book Burning By Louisiana Tech Students Allegedly Responsible For Burning Down Frat House And Nearby Apartment Building

This reads like a torts exam question. A group of frat brothers allegedly want to celebrate the end of the year with some book burning at Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house at Louisiana Tech in Ruston, Louisiana. The text books then cause a large fire that ultimately claims not just the frat house but the nearby apartment building. The motto of the fraternity is “Once a Pike, Always a Pike.”

Sophomore and Pi Kappa Alpha president John Chestnut is quoted as saying “I think some of the guys that were maybe doing an end of year celebration and burning some books or whatever.” It appears that the “whatever” got out of control and now an entire apartment building is in ashes. Three firefighters were injured, including one with a broken pelvis after having to jump to safety in the blaze.

There is an obvious case of negligence to be made here. The common law has long struggled with the proximate causation questions raised by fires. THe leading case, Ryan v. New York Central R.R. Co., Ct. of App. of N.Y., 35 N.Y. 210, 91 Am. Dec. 49 (1866), held that (in a case involving a fire started in a railroad woodshed) a party is only liable for damages that are the proximate result of the original fire and that proximate causation cuts off liability as the fire spreads. Generally a fire that ignites an adjacent structure is within the scope of proximate cause, but successive structures risk a decision cutting off liability. Here the nexus seems clear and close.

The next question will be the liability of the university and the fraternity for the rogue actions of students. This is not something that seems foreseeable conduct assuming that there was no forewarning by the students. There may also be questions as the fire protection standards for the fraternity. Hopefully, they did not burn any of the law books — those are likely to come in handy.

Source: WAFB

22 thoughts on ““Once a Pike, Always a Pike:” Book Burning By Louisiana Tech Students Allegedly Responsible For Burning Down Frat House And Nearby Apartment Building”

  1. Mr. Turley…you might be interested in my book…your constructive criticism…i attended Louisiana Tech…great school

    MIDEAST CHESSBOARD

    by Woody Voinche

    This book is an overview of the major events that have
    contributed to the history of three major countries in the
    mideast: Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. From the coup d’etat
    that brought about the downfall of Mossadeq and the rise
    to power of the Shah of Iran; to the arming of the Shah and
    his final downfall(with Iranian Air Force General Rabii telling his
    Judges "General Huyser threw the Shah out of the country
    like a dead mouse."); the hostage crisis in Iran and the use
    of this event by both Republican and Democratic groups in
    what became known as the October Surprise; the rise and
    arming of Saddam Hussein and the part played by western
    interests; the US support of the mujahadeen in Afghanistan
    and the role played by Bin Laden and other Islamists culminating
    in the breakup of the Soviet Union; the Islamist group on
    the periphery of the Alkifah Refugee center in New York and
    the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; the events leading up
    to 911 and the evidence suggesting the Intelligence agencies
    had advanced knowledge of this event; And the evidence that
    US forces have had the opportunity to eliinate top al Qaeda
    and Taliban forces in Afghanistan and Iraq but for whatever
    reason have failed to do this…

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=woody+voinche&x=14&y=18

  2. Mr. Turley

    Someone may be interested in my book…i attended Tech
    great school

    MIDEAST CHESSBOARD

    by Woody Voinche

    This book is an overview of the major events that have
    contributed to the history of three major countries in the
    mideast: Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. From the coup d’etat
    that brought about the downfall of Mossadeq and the rise
    to power of the Shah of Iran; to the arming of the Shah and
    his final downfall(with Iranian Air Force General Rabii telling his
    Judges "General Huyser threw the Shah out of the country
    like a dead mouse."); the hostage crisis in Iran and the use
    of this event by both Republican and Democratic groups in
    what became known as the October Surprise; the rise and
    arming of Saddam Hussein and the part played by western
    interests; the US support of the mujahadeen in Afghanistan
    and the role played by Bin Laden and other Islamists culminating
    in the breakup of the Soviet Union; the Islamist group on
    the periphery of the Alkifah Refugee center in New York and
    the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; the events leading up
    to 911 and the evidence suggesting the Intelligence agencies
    had advanced knowledge of this event; And the evidence that
    US forces have had the opportunity to eliinate top al Qaeda
    and Taliban forces in Afghanistan and Iraq but for whatever
    reason have failed to do this…

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=woody+voinche&x=14&y=18

  3. The Pikes at UMD are known for being the biggest douches possible. They also terrorize their pledges by making them drunk during the entire pledging period and making them clean stuff while drunk etc. The trade off is automatic sex with sorority girls and non-stop partying.

  4. Bron – agreed! with textbooks running near $500 a semester & a resale value near half that (if you are really lucky) the first thing I thought of when I saw this was those kids a burning daddies money. My guess is large quantities of fermented grain was also involved.

    My guess is the national chapter has insurance (boy are those premiums gonna skyrocket!) and the local house does too. But we are looking at millions in damages.

    I fractured my pelvis about 10 years ago & my heart goes out to that firefighter (I was one of those for a time also but not when I did the damage). He has a hell of a recovery ahead of him & his days riding the truck are done.

  5. “Good ol boys from LSU
    Went in dumb , come out dumb too…
    Hustlin round Atlanta in their alligator shoes…
    We’re Rednecks, We’re Rednecks,,
    We dont know our arse from a hole in the ground,”
    etc

    -Randy Newman

    No offense. I am a barkin dog from the South and small fires from a book burnin seem just par for the course and I dont play golf.

    BarkinDog

  6. and all this was accomplished by college graduates right?

    please tell me any business recruiters at that university took the next flight out.

  7. It is easier to say Pike than Pi Kappa Alpha. Same as Mike is short for Michael. Many fraternities and sororities have nicknames, such as members of Delta Delta Delta are usually referred to as Tri-Delts.

  8. no because pike is short for pi kappa alpha or PIKe. No idea why the added e.

    Maybe OS knows.

  9. Does anyone else find it interesting that the Pike crest has no pike, but a sword instead?

  10. What mespo said. This isn’t about causally connected liability. It’s about protecting the interests of an insurance company.

  11. “Generally a fire that ignites an adjacent structure is within the scope of proximate cause, but successive structures risk a decision cutting off liability. Here the nexus seems clear and close.”

    ***********************

    More Palsgrafian nonsense about the “remoteness” of negligence cutting off liability. Logic be damned. How in the world can anyone claim that starting one fire which leads to the burning down of successive structures has not negligently set in motion a chain of events for which the law should hold them liable? Where do we stop? Three structures down the block? Four, maybe? It’s angels on the head of a pin time as the good judges seek to protect wrongdoers — and mostly their insurers — to the detriment of innocents. Never understood it; never will.

  12. Those damn books are expensive, who the hell would burn them? My daughter sold hers back to the book store and made $280 bucks.

    I guess burning desire and education dont enter into their lexicon as a combined concept.

  13. Zing….. If the coverage isn’t sufficient, maybe an alumni will step up to cover his brothers behind…..

  14. My Dad was a Pike. All the legends are true from the tales he told. I decided not to pledge, even though I am a legacy. I dislike jail food.

  15. The next question will be the liability of the university and the fraternity for the rogue actions of students.”

    Perhaps all those folks down south outta stop burning books so the Pi Kappa Alpha kids don’t pick up bad ideas.

    Perhaps this is a clue as to why Louisiana has 3 times more prisoners than Iran, 7 times more than China, and 10 times more than Germany.

    Charles Blow of the NY Times points out, also, that they are slipping back into the slavery era.

    I guess if we hear of a prison burning down south we know were these Frat Brats were sent.

Comments are closed.