A Georgetown senior died after an electrical fire engulfed the basement of a Prospect Street townhouse Sunday morning.

The Metropolitan Police Department identified the victim as Daniel Rigby (MSB ’05), according to a university broadcast e-mail sent Sunday evening.

The D.C. Fire Department responded and put out the fire, which began at 8:54 a.m. in the basement of 3318 Prospect St., an MPD incident report said. The report listed smoke inhalation as the cause of death.

According to D.C. Fire Department spokesman Alan Etter, the fire began in electrical wiring near a furnace in the basement and was probably accidental.

Approximately half of the 3300 block of Prospect Street was blocked off for six hours after the incident. Area residents and Georgetown students sat in stunned silence on sidewalks or milled around the area crying and hugging each other.

Windows of the house where the fire started were covered by black sheeting and a red flag hung from a top story window. Black smoke stains were visible on the front of the house.

The D.C. Chief Medical Examiner’s Office removed a body from the basement shortly after 1 p.m. and by 2:30 p.m. the crime scene tape had been removed and traffic was allowed through the area.

At least three other students had been present at the time of the fire, but they escaped safely and were taken for questioning by PD.

An autopsy was performed by the Chief Medical Examiner’s office Monday but the results were not released to the media.

Etter said that the house met District housing regulations.

“There were no housing code violations that we know of,” he said. “Inspectors went through and determined that the smoke alarms worked properly but the exact nature of what happened continues to be under investigation.”

The fire caused more than $35,000 in damages, destroyed the basement and damaged the second and third floors, Etter said.

The owner of the home, listed as Carolyn Channave on a D.C. government Web site, could not be reached for comment Monday.

Friends of Rigby who asked not to be named said that rugby players lived in the house and there had been a party the previous night.

University officials arrived on the scene by 11 a.m.

Todd Olson, vice president for student affairs, met with a group of students from the affected area shortly after the fire Sunday in the Village C Alumni Lounge.

Daniel Porterfield, vice president for public affairs and strategic development, told students gathered by the scene that university officials would be willing to personally visit students in the area to provide them with any support that they needed.

Rev. Ridgeway Addison, a Protestant chaplain in residence at Alumni Square, said chaplains and counselors would be available if requested by students.

“We didn’t expect this to happen on a Sunday morning, but what is good to remember is we are all part of a community,” he told students. “I would hope you would lean on each other. Do not be afraid to lean on whoever is there.”

Victoria Rixey, president of the Citizens Association of Georgetown, expressed concern Sunday that poor housing standards could have contributed to the death.

Rixey, referring to metal bars covering many basement windows on area houses, said that there is often “no way to get out of a basement in an emergency.”

“Students should be demanding that houses are inspected,” she said. “It is terrible that in a panic situation something like this could occur.”

Rixey described a Sept. 22 blaze at 3310 Prospect that gutted the townhouse’s basement as being “frighteningly similar.” No one was injured in that fire, which began around 8:30 a.m. The home’s owner, Jeff Miller, said that an electrical short in an energy meter in the basement had caused the fire.

A Georgetown resident and friend of Rigby, Dave Barron, said he had previously visited the house and called it a “deathtrap.”

“This was completely avoidable and I feel partially guilty because I was in that basement a while ago and I knew it was a fire trap,” he said. “There was no way to get out of there in an emergency and I know of other dangerous places like this in my neighborhood where students are living.”

An e-mail sent by university officials to students living off campus Monday evening said there would be a Tuesday afternoon meeting in Riverside Lounge to discuss student safety concerns. It also said D.C. officials would be present to schedule housing inspections.

By Sunday evening, the front steps of the house where the fire began were covered with flowers. The acrid smell of smoke hung in the air and a card at the scene urged students to use university resources for help dealing with the tragedy.

At an afternoon information session in the Car Barn, university officials comforted students affected by the tragedy.

Rigby’s friends gathered later on Copley Lawn for a vigil. As the students wept and prayed in small groups, a single candle was lit before a statue of the Virgin Mary. The university also held a memorial for Rigby in Dahlgren chapel last night.

Student Affairs executive assistant Raymund Acevedo said Monday that the university was working with the family to plan an on-campus memorial service in the coming weeks.

Friends described Rigby as loyal and sincere yesterday. He played rugby, was a member of the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity and remained involved in Mother Teresa’s Hoyas, an organization dedicated to community service.

“He was loyal to a fault,” Tom McKiernan (MSB ’05) said. “Loyalty to him was key and he’d do absolutely anything for you.”

Jay Tedino (MSB ’05) called Rigby a “great wingman” and said Rigby had been someone who would “support his friends no matter what.”

“We just want the Georgetown community to understand their loss,” Phil Arnold (COL ’05) said. “Dan was one of the greatest people on this campus. He was the kind of person anyone would want as a friend.”

Rigby, a River Edge, N.J., native, attended Bergen Catholic High School in Oradell, N.J. He played football and competed on the state champion mock trial team. Rigby’s brother is in his senior year there.

Bergen Catholic principal, Joseph Fusco, remembered Rigby as a “good student who was very involved in school.”

“He was well liked by peers and faculty alike,” Fusco said. “It is a major loss to see him go.”

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