Few clues in Davis frat arson try

Published: Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 - 8:44 am

Investigators are ruling out nothing in their probe of last weekend’s attempted arson at a Davis fraternity house.

“We don’t discount any theory. We can’t close our eyes to any possibility,” said Davis police Lt. Paul Doroshov.

Davis police say someone walked into Kappa Sigma house at 642 Adams St. about 1 a.m. Sunday, opened the kitchen’s gas burners, flooding the townhouse-style home with fumes, then started a fire in a bathroom in an attempt to ignite the vapors.

The arson attempt was unsuccessful, but police are convinced the incident was not a prank but rather a dangerous trap set to blow up the house.

“We start out with the underlying issue, which is arson,” Doroshov said. “We’ve got an arson. That’s what we’re going with.”

But leads are scarce.

As many as six fraternity members were in the home at the time, police said. No one was hurt, but the potential for destruction and injury was high in the dense residential neighborhood of multifamily apartment buildings that Kappa Sigma calls home. Members called Davis police at 1 p.m. Sunday, 12 hours after the incident.

“Our investigations team is taking this very seriously. It’s a very serious matter,” Doroshov said.

So much so, that Davis police consulted federal Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents in the hours after responding to the incident, though Doroshov said the law enforcement agency is “not actively involved in the investigation.”

No incidents involving other fraternities or sororities have been reported, Doroshov said, but police have talked with the campus’s Greek Life coordinator and are asking fraternities, sororities and other students to remain vigilant.

Kappa Sigma’s UC Davis chapter is a relatively new fraternity, receiving its charter in 2012 and moving to Adams Street from A Street earlier this year. Doroshov said he knew of no incidents involving the organization and a review of recent police incident logs before the deliberate gas leak shows no calls or complaints at the address.

Meantime, UC Davis student affairs officials have spent time with Kappa Sigma members in the days since the Sunday incident, said Keith Sterling, university spokesman.

A Kappa Sigma representative did not return calls requesting comment, but in a statement earlier this week, members said they were “shaken and deeply unsettled” by the incident.

“The students are shocked at what happened and what could’ve happened,” Sterling said, adding the that university is “offering support to get them through it. They’re doing their best to move forward. They don’t want this to deter them.”


Call The Bee’s Darrell Smith, (916) 321-1040.

Read more articles by Darrell Smith



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