Seton Hall marks anniversary of deadly dorm fire

January 19, 2010 2:51:14 PM PST
Seton Hall University is marking the 10th anniversary of a deadly fire that killed three students inside a dorm. Freshmen Frank Caltabilota, John Giunta and Aaron Karol died on the third floor of Boland Hall on January 19, 2010, a day that the university remembers like none other in its history.

The fire started when two drunk freshmen, Sean Ryan and Joseph LePore, set fire to a paper banner hanging over a couch as a prank. The couch went up in flames and the fire quickly spread. Many students weary of frequent false alarms ignored the evacuation.

Another 58 students were injured, including several with severe burns.

Ten years after the fire brought national attention to school, that third floor shows no hints that the students died in the halls as they tried to feel their way out of the blaze.

A closer look reveals changes aimed at preventing such a tragedy in the future. There are fire sprinklers every few feet, flame-resistant couches and a detailed evacuation map by the elevator. State-of-the-art alarm boxes are at the end of every hall.

The South Orange community will gather with those who were hurt in the fire and the families of the deceased for a Mass of Remembrance and Hope at 5 p.m. in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception. Monsignor Robert Sheeran will serve as principal celebrant and homilist, and the members of the Seton Hall priest community will be concelebrants.