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By BEN BRUHNKE beb011@latech

By BEN BRUHNKE

beb011@latech.edu

 

Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, located at 209 College Street, has returned to campus spring quarter looking for a new residence after the ministry’s house was virtually destroyed by fire March 2.

Greg Layfield, a senior computer science major and resident of the Chi Alpha house, said the fire was caused by several electrical surges that occurred throughout Ruston earlier that afternoon.

“The power went out a couple times during the day, and it finally went out for good about 3:30 p.m.,” Layfield said. “We left the house about 6 to go to eat at Popeye’s and stayed until about 7:40 p.m. When we got back, the place was in flames.”

Jennifer Babineaux, the Chi Alpha women’s minister, said she was happy about no one being injured and believes divine providence had a lot to do with the residents leaving the house at just the right time.

“It’s a blessing that no one was hurt because of this.” Babineaux said.

“God was looking out for the guys that day.”

Babineaux said the house was completely destroyed, over 85 percent due to heat damage alone. The ministry’s insurance company is pending the final costs of the damages.

The Ruston Fire Department was unable to comment or confirm any information about damages to the house.

Along with Layfield, Zach Kissinger, a junior business major, Hunter Crawford, a senior political science major, and Claude Wyatt, a former Tech student, were living in the house and lost nearly all of their possessions.

“The house itself is unsalvageable, and except for some minor things, pretty much everything in it is non-repairable as well,” Layfield said.

“The fire was centralized in our living quarters, and the rest of the stuff in the house was destroyed mostly by the heat.

“After we were allowed to go in and salvage our stuff, the only things I walked out with were a little box and a backpack full of my things.”

Babineaux has put together an account at Community Trust Bank, located at 1511 North Trenton St., for anyone who would like to donate money to help purchase materials for the ministry and the four residents.

“None of the guys had renter’s insurance, so we are doing a type of adopt-a-student program to get some money for the guys,” Babineaux said.

“Anyone who would like to donate can go to the bank and ask for the Tech Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship fire account.”

Layfield said losing the house was a big hit to the fellowship because it was a great place for members to escape the school day and enjoy the company of their friends.

“Everyone seems to be pretty upset about it; that was a house that was open to everyone,” Layfield said.

“The house was open from 8 a.m. until really late at night, so there were people at the house constantly.

“Now that the place is gone, everyone feels like that they have nowhere to go. We’re really bummed, but at the same time, everyone is really optimistic,” he said.

Babineaux said for the time being the ministry is looking for a new house close to the campus and hopes when one is found, the members will make it just as great as the old one.

“Right now we have pretty much claimed the couches at Tolliver Hall so we can still socialize,” Babineaux said.

“I have been here since 1998; there are a lot of memories, and it’s hard to see it go.

“Our freshmen miss it especially; they feel like they have no other place to go to connect with others,” Babineaux said.

In the midst of this unfortunate incident, Babineaux said she has been overwhelmed by the support of the other campus ministries here at Tech.

“The Wesley Foundation, the BCM and the rest of the campus ministries have been amazing to us,” Babineaux said.

“They have all opened their arms to us and the ministry; we can’t thank them enough.

“It blesses my heart to know how caring everyone has been for Chi Alpha and our members.”


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