Fraternity Fire at Ole Miss Kills Three

AUGUST 27, 2004 - Posted at 3:05 p.m. CDT

OXFORD, MS - Witnesses say flames rose nearly two stories high during this morning's fire at a University of Mississippi fraternity house.

The fire killed three members of the fraternity.

A member of the school's track team was out for an early morning run, and said he could see smoke so thick "it would choke you up" from as far as a mile away.

In addition to the three students who died in the pre-dawn blaze at the school's Alpha Tau Omega house, about 20 other students and a house mother were in the building when the fire broke out.  They got out safely.

A university official says he heard the fire may have started in the living area.  He added that the fraternity house had undergone a routine fire inspection last week.  Problems that were pinpointed included a lack of fire extinguishers and doors blocked with matresses.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)