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Five students killed in frat house fire

It was supposed to have been a carefree weekend for frolicking, for school spirit and joy, and all the good things that come with Homecoming weekend on a picturesque campus.

There was to have been a parade for fraternities to flaunt their fancy colored floats, a grand dedication of a new $12.5 billion library, and picnics and parties for a thousand alumni.

None of these events will take place.

Five Bloomsburg University students died Friday as fire ripped through the Beta Sigma Delta Fraternity House, only blocks from the tree-lined campus. Four people escaped before the two-story structure was charred nearly beyond recognition.

The blaze is believed to have started in a sofa early Thursday evening while the students were having a party. Fire officials said the students apparently believed the fire had been extinguished at the time and moved the sofa outside to the porch. Hours after the party concluded, the sofa burst into flame.

An official said the batteries had been removed from smoke detectors in the house, a common occurrence, the official said, during smoke-filled parties.

Bloomsburg police Sgt. Ronald Ortman, said the fire was all-encompassing, making it extremely unlikely that the victims, especially if they were sleeping, could have easily gotten out.

"It was a mess. It just wasn't good."