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College student dies in off-campus fire

A college sophomore in Pennsylvania was killed after a fire broke out in a two-and-a-half story building in Reading. The deceased man was reportedly in the basement of the student housing and unable to escape before succumbing to his injuries. Although firefighters were able to locate the man, he was found dead when they arrived.

In addition to the man who died in the basement, six other college students were in the building when it caught fire. Four of the students were on the top floor of the building, one student was located on the second floor and one student had been sleeping on a couch on the first floor. There were no reported explosions and investigators do not believe that the fire was started intentionally.

According to reports from firefighters who were on the scene, smoke alarms were heard activating on the second and third floors of the building, but it is not known if they activated on the first floor. While the students from the fourth floor were trying to escape, a doorknob reportedly came off in their hands. They were able to climb out of a nearby window and dial 911 to report the fire. When firefighters arrived, the students informed them about the locations of the other occupants of the building.

After an incident like this one, an investigation may be vital in determining what caused it. If the property owner or another party is found liable, an injured victim may be able to seek compensation from the person at fault by filing a personal injury complaint.

Source: Fire Engineering, "Update of Fatal Reading (PA) Off-Campus Housing Fire", September 23, 2014

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