Police: Fraternity arson under investigation

A party-stunt gone wrong is leading to an arson investigation.

State College police said the incident started at a party at Phi Kappa Theta fraternity late Friday night.

Lt. Keith Robb said the party had a beach theme with lots of sand around. Two fraternity brothers started playing with gasoline in the basement.

The men would light “streamers” of gasoline on fire, then douse them with sand. The fun ended when the fire got out control, setting a couch on fire.

Robb said that the blaze didn’t get out of hand because the house was outfitted with sprinklers, which went off. The fire also was controlled with fire extinguishers.

“We are taking this extremely seriously,” said Robb, who pointed to the potential worst case scenario of a fire that got out of hand in the basement of a large building full of sleeping residents.

Charges have not yet been filed in the case, which is still under investigation. Robb said that charges would likely be felony counts of arson.

“We are looking at it has a potential catastrophe,” he said.