3 Miami U. Students Die in Fire

Off-campus rental home is destroyed in an early morning blaze.
April 11, 2005

Three students at Miami University were killed early Sunday morning in a fire that destroyed the off-campus home they and six other students rented.

University officials on Sunday evening identified the three students as Stephen J. Smith, a senior marketing major from Bethesda, Md.; Kathryn (Kate) Welling, a junior business major from Bronxville, N.Y.; and Julia Turnbull, a senior mass communication major from Milford, Ohio. 

“We are doing everything we can to help and provide support to the families and friends of the victims, but this is a tragedy that is touching everyone in the university community,” said James Garland, Miami's president.

Two other residents of the house were taken to an Oxford, Ohio, hospital for treatment. One was released and the second was admitted and treated for smoke inhalation and cuts, the university said in a statement.

According to local fire officials, the fire started in the living room at about 4:30 a.m. Sunday. The cause of the fire had not been identified as of Sunday evening. Two women, believed to be students, were found dead in separate rooms in the seven-bedroom house, and a third victim, believed to be a male student, was found on the floor downstairs.

The university said in a statement that its officials had met with survivors from the house early Sunday morning to offer counseling and on-campus housing.

News reports indicated that one student escaped by jumping out of a second-floor window.

Another Miami student died in an off-campus fire in 1994. A log of campus fires and other information is available from the Center for Campus Fire Safety.


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