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Funeral Held For Marist College Student Killed In Fire; Investigation Continues

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Eva Block (credit: Facebook)

Eva Block (credit: Facebook)

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A funeral was held Monday afternoon for one of the Marist College students killed in Saturday’s tragic fire at a two-story off-campus house.

Eva Block, a 21-year-old senior from Woodbridge, Connecticut, was among three people killed in Poughkeepsie early Saturday morning.  Kerry Fitzsimons, a Marist student from Commack, Long Island, was also killed along with Kevin Johnson, of New Canaan, Conn.

A spokesman for Marist College says a memorial service is planned for Wednesday morning at the college chapel.

Family members are still waiting for autopsy results, but officials believe all three died of smoke inhalation, CBS 2’s John Slattery reported.

Four other people in the house escaped without serious injuries. Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.

The off-campus house on Fairview Avenue was being rented by six female Marist students, according to Town Police Chief Thomas Mauro said.

“This was one of the fastest moving, all-consuming fires of its kind I’ve seen in some time.” Mauro said.

At the time that the fire was initially called into 911 by a passer-by at about 1:30 a.m., Mauro said seven people were in the house, including four residents and three male guests.

The police chief said the group had gone to bed about an hour before the fire was called into authorities.

“There was no issue that they were aware of in the house when they went to bed,” he said, basing his comments on interviews with the four survivors.

Three people jumped through a window to safety after realizing that the house was engulfed in flames, he said.

One victim was found on the second floor of the house, one was downstairs and the third was under “considerable collapsed debris,” the police chief said.

The four survivors were taken to a hospital, where they were treated and released. They were treated for minor smoke inhalation and other minor injuries and were able to debrief police.

Some officials believe the fire may have started in the rear of the first floor.

Investigators are also re-questioning everyone involved and will check  to see if the owner of the house exceed the legal limit on how many residents could live there.

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