Sunday, January 22, 2012

Enemy Strikes Again!

3 dead in fire at NY house rented by students

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (AP) — A fire tore through a private home being rented by Marist Collegestudents near campus early Saturday morning, killing three people, authorities said.

The victims were identified as two female Marist students in their early 20s and one male, who was not a student at the school. Their names have not been released. Four other people in the house escaped without serious injuries.

Marist College postponed two basketball games "out of respect for the students affected by this tragedy," Deborah DiCaprio, Marist's vice president and dean for student affairs, said in a statement Saturday.

The off-campus house on Fairview Avenue was being rented by six female Marist students, Town Police Chief Thomas Mauro said.

At the time that the fire was initially called into 911 by a passer-by at about 1:30 a.m., Mauro said seven people were in the house — four residents and three male guests.

The police chief said the group had gone to bed about an hour before the fire was called into authorities. "There was no issue that they were aware of in the house when they went to bed," he said, basing his comments on interviews with the four survivors.

At least two people jumped through a window to safety after realizing that the house was engulfed in flames, he said.

The first firefighters to respond to the emergency call tried to get into the house, but were forced back by the heat and flames, said Chris Maeder, chief of the Fairview Fire District, one of a handful of agencies that responded to the emergency call.

One victim was found on the second floor of the house, one was downstairs and the third was under "considerable collapsed debris," the police chief said. The four survivors were taken to a hospital, where they were treated and released.

They were treated for minor smoke inhalation and other minor injuries and were able to debrief police.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Maeder said the fire is believed to have started in the rear of the first floor.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

New Year, New Resolve

Please excuse our online hiatus during the last month. We’ve been having a difficult time adjusting to losing another beautiful woman—this time, our leader Nazie Djajanshahi. My dear friend and co-board member Zoe Friedland sent out an e-mail soon after losing Nazie titled “2011 Life Lessons,” written with an earnest and cheesy nature that Nazie would have adored. Though the whole document was drenched with wisdom, lesson number three stood out: Say yes to someone else’s dream, it may become your own. Here, Zoe writes:

I started my work with the Foundation as a way to be there for Nazie. I didn’t actually believe that a group of ten heartbroken people could change the way that the whole world thinks about fire safety. Now I do, and I think that says it all.

JUSTICE has only come so far because we had stronger people to believe in us when we could not. Nazie and Reza immediately established important contacts and performed exhaustive research on fire safety equipment and regulations. Kirk and Suzanne took care of what I call the “grown-up” stuff with Kirk’s legal support and Suzanne’s work with our CPA. Additionally, donations began pouring in from around the world in support of our mission. Suddenly, what we thought was impossible was right in front of us, and we had work to do.