Floats must now include fire extinguishers

Bowling Green junior Ty Tipton along with other members of Farmhouse Fraternity pull the apart their float after it caught on fire before the start of the homecoming parade on Nov. 6, 2009. Before the fire broke out, the float was awarded second place. 

Emily Ulber

In addition to the wood, chicken wire and tissue paper that adorn the Homecoming floats, participants must now include something else: a fire extinguisher.

Before last year’s parade, the float of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, FarmHouse fraternity and Sigma Nu fraternity caught fire.

The fire was caused by an electrical short that ignited the float covered in tissue paper and hairspray. No one was hurt.

The incident prompted officials to require organizations to have fire extinguishers on their floats, said Gary Wiser, coordinator of Student Activities.

Organizations can’t start constructing their floats until noon on the Sunday before the Homecoming game, Wiser said.

But they can start gathering supplies before then, he said.

Fraternities and sororities aren’t the only WKU groups that build floats, he said. Several campus ministries and other student organizations construct floats as well.

Officials don’t want the parade to be perceived as a Greek-only event, Wiser said.