Community comes together to help CSUN students who lost their home in a fire

Damaged remains from a Sept. 24 fire at the house of five CSUN students. Photo Credit: Misael Virgen / Assistant Photo Editor

Fundraising begins for displaced CSUN students who lost everything in a fire that began in their backyard.

The house on the 17,000 block of Elkwood Street once served as a home for five Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity brothers.

It was around 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 24 when the local fire department received a phone call from one of the residents who was in the house when the fire started, said Senior Manny Oseguera, 28. Police are still investigating the cause of the fire.

Oseguera said he heard a loud noise coming from the backyard while he was inside the house. Upon hearing the noise, he said he rushed outside to find a couch burning in the backyard.

“I got home and one of my friends was with me in the house,” said the economics major. “We were hanging out and all of a sudden I heard noise coming from the backyard. When I went to the backyard, the couch was completely in flames and there was nothing else I could do other than evacuate the house.”

Oseguera said he got in touch with the fire department after five minutes of relentless calling.

“It took me forever to get through to the fire department,” Oseguera said. “After five minutes of calling I got a hold of them and eventually sent a text to all my roommates to come home.”

Junior Gordon Beck, 22, was one of Oseguera’s roommates who received his text message.

“I was at work when I got the text message from Manny,” said the finance major. “He told me the house was on fire. I went and took a little break and called him back. When I got to the house, the whole block was shut off. I was feeling a little numb and was stuck in awe and disbelief.”

The students said after firefighters cleared the flames they found many of their personal belongings destroyed by the fire.

Losing essential belongings such as clothes, laptops and school supplies was the reason why Beck said he decided to drop his classes for the remainder of this semester.

“I had to drop my classes because I lost most of my notes and books,” Beck said. “The only things I salvaged were few pairs of shoes, clothes, checkbooks and a few documents. I’ve been at CSUN for a while now and this was the first time I had to take a semester off.”

Fellow fraternities and sororities across campus are working together to raise money for the students.

Jimmy Huynh, 21, member of Pi Kappa Alpha, said he made it his initiative to help out his brothers during these tough times.

“When something like this affects one member, it eventually affects all of us,” said the construction management major.

Huynh created a Facebook group titled the “Elkwood Foundation” that is a page informing people about various future fundraising events for his fellow Pi Kappa Alpha brothers. The Facebook page also contains a link that directs people to a Paypal donation page also set up by Huynh.

“We’re trying to get as much money as we can to help them out,” Huynh said. “I’m keeping my hopes up that the community will play a big role in helping.”

Beck said he and his roommates are in the process of moving to a new house and are hopeful for the future, despite all that’s happened in the past week.