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That time the President’s Mansion caught on fire

Muse: Not amused.

The spring of 1994 was a hot time to be in Auburn. The campus was awake from its post-perfect football season winter hibernation celebration. Coeds strutted around in their (fake) tans. Splash Into Spring featured Dash Rip Rock & Better Than Ezra at the Student Act Pavilion. Sand volleyball at the Eagle’s Cage. Jello-O Splash. Bed Races up Thach Avenue. The president’s mansion caught on fire…

“This blaze was one of many ‘fires’ I had to deal with during my years as president of Auburn,” wrote former Auburn president William Muse in his book “The Seventh Muse.”

The other ‘fires’ he mentioned in his book were the racial unrest surrounding the KA Old South Parade controversy, the granting of a charter to AGLA, Bobby Lowder’s influence on athletics and NCAA probation.

From the Associated Press- May 3, 1994:

No one was hurt in the blaze, which was ignited Monday by a crew using a torch and scrapers to remove old paint from a front column of the house, officials said. Muse’s wife, Marlene, the only person at home when the fire started, escaped unharmed with the family dog.

“The attic suffered fire damage while the second floor, the Muse’s living area, suffered smoke and water damage,” Auburn spokesman Pete Pepinsky said.

Everything in the attic was lost to the fire. This included antiques and all their children’s histories including books, poetry, artwork and other childhood accomplishments.

The Muse’s moved into an apartment for the next five months while the damage was repaired.

I actually worked for AU Facilities that summer and took part in the restoration. Hardest damn work I’ve ever done.

Follow Kevin on Twitter: @AU_History.


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