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Duquesne to Host Documentary Screening, Survivors of Seton Hall Fire

Fifteen years ago, a fire set by arsonists raced through a freshmen residence hall at Seton Hall University killing three students and injuring 58 others.

In remembrance of this tragedy, Duquesne University will host Alvaro Llanos and Shawn Simons-the two most critically burned survivors, roommates who suffered severe third degree burns-on Wednesday, Jan. 14. Their presentations, plus a screening of the critically acclaimed documentary After the Fire: A True Story of Heroes and Cowards, will be offered twice that day.

"It will be an honor to have Llanos and Simons at Duquesne to discuss their ordeal as college burn victims and to provide fire safety and prevention tips with our community," said Assumption Hall Resident Director Nicholas DuBos, who helped to organize the event. "They will share their moving story of survival, perseverance, inspiration, hope, courage and friendship."

Simons endured months of physical and occupational therapy, while Llanos' recovery process took years. As the two learned to be comfortable in their new "burned" skin, the toll reached beyond the physical, stretching their mental and emotional capabilities.

The film is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book and New York Times bestseller by Robin Fisher, a journalist and photographer who documented Llanos' and Simons' fight to recover from what was described as the worst burns/damage that St. Barnabas Hospital's burn unit had ever seen and chronicled the search for the arsonists.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.