In recognition of the upcoming Fire Prevention Week, two survivors of the 2000 Boland Hall fire at New Jersey’s Seton Hall University will give a lecture and screen a documentary film on Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m., in the Bradford Auditorium, KJ. Earlier that day a mock dorm room fire will be staged, at 4 p.m., in front of the Taylor Science Center. Both events are free and open to the public.
Alvaro Llanos and Shawn Simons both survived a devastating fire at Seton Hall University on January 19, 2000—but just barely. The fire overtook a freshmen dorm in the early morning, killing three students and injuring 58 others including Simons and Llanos. Both suffered life-threatening burns and severe smoke inhalation and faced months of surgeries, therapy and rehabilitation.
The 50-minute film documenting their recovery and the arson investigation which lead to the conviction of two students at Seton Hall is titled “After the Fire: A Story of Heroes and Cowards,” and will be screened with the lecture. It is based on the reporting of journalist and author, Robin Gaby Fisher's 7-part series in the Star-Ledger and later, New York Times best-selling book, After the Fire: A True Story of Friendship and Survival.
Both the book and the documentary focus on the highs and lows of Simons’ and Llanos’ recoveries as college students, the development of a life-long friendship, the tireless efforts of the medical staff, and the criminal/arson investigation, which later led to the conviction of two of their classmates, who started the fire as a prank.
Preceding this presentation will be a mock dorm fire. The Clinton fire department will set up a model 8’x8’x8’ dorm room in front of the Taylor Science Center. At 4 p.m., a fire will be started somewhere in the model room, and attendees will witness how quickly it spreads. An official from the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control will narrate the stages of the blaze.