A fire gutted a Louisiana Tech University fraternity house on Saturday, resulting in minor injuries to three firefighters but none to students.

Lt. Tim Parker of the Ruston police said firefighters responded to a 4:35 p.m. CDT call about a fire at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house at the edge of the Tech campus in northern Louisiana. The fire engulfed the building and spread to a nearby structure. It caused a roof collapse and items to be ejected from the fraternity house, but Parker denied initial reports that there was an explosion.

Three firefighters were treated at Northern Louisiana Medical Center and released. Two suffered from heat exhaustion, while a third was hurt when he was on stairs that gave way.

The half-dozen or so students who were inside the building were all evacuated safely, Parker said.

"The fire department and police department got all of them out safely," he said.

The school's spring commencement was Saturday.

Parker said every available fire unit in the city responded. Firefighters battled the blaze into the evening before it was brought under control.

He said the fire may have started in the chimney and spread to the walls.

KSLA-TV reported that the fraternity president said people were burning books in the house around the time that the fire started.

Ruston police and the state fire marshal were investigating the cause. He described the fire as a "total loss."


Associated Press writer Norman Gomlak in Atlanta contributed to this report.