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Updated: 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013 | Posted: 6:07 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013

UD student house with sinking floor ruled habitable

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UD student house with sinking floor ruled habitable photo
University of Dayton students called the fire department when they discovered that the first floor of their university-owned house was sinking. A UD building maintenance official allowed the students to remain in the house. (KATE BARTLEY/STAFF)
UD student house with sinking floor ruled habitable photo
Dayton fire crews responded to a report that the first floor of this University of Dayton-owned student house on Kiefaber Street had collapsed. (JIM NOELKER/STAFF)

DAYTON —

Six University of Dayton students will be allowed to remain in a university-owned house where the first floor is sinking.

Dayton fire crews were dispatched to 218 Kiefaber St. at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday after the residents said the first floor was sinking into the basement.

A reporter allowed into the residence by fire officials said there are three separate spots in the carpeted living room floor that are “soft” and do sink a bit when stepped on. The reporter also said she could see a floor vent falling about an inch into the basement.

The students said they reported the issue with the floor to the fire department in keeping with instructions given to all upperclassmen in an email from the university earlier Tuesday afternoon.

That email was in reference to new occupancy limits for student neighborhoods stemming from a similar incident Friday night, according to William M. Fischer, vice president for student development.

Eleven UD students were displaced from two university-owned houses after the floors “shifted a few inches” during large gatherings Friday night.

No one was injured when the floors sank, Fischer said. But the incidents did prompt him to remind all students via email that their houses and apartments “were built as residences and using them for other purposes, such as hosting very large gatherings, could compromise their safety.”

“We felt it necessary to take these precautionary measures,” he said.

Fischer said students will receive the occupancy limit for their homes by week’s end and those limits are based on recommendations from a structural engineer.

His email warns students they will be held responsible for violating their home’s limit, including financially for any damage. The occupancies will range from 12 to 20 people, which is lower than the 35 and 50 people who were estimated to have been in the homes where the floors where damaged on Friday.

Fischer commended the students involved in Friday’s incidents for calling campus public safety (which his email advises to do at 229-2121.)

The houses involved, which are located on Lawnview Avenue and Frericks Way, are closed while they are inspected and repaired, Fischer said.

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