POUGHKEEPSIE, NY (CBSNewYork/AP) — A fire tore through a private home being rented by Marist College students near campus early Saturday morning, killing three people.

Over the weekend, mourners left messages of love by the now-bulldozed home in Poughkeepsie.

Authorities identified one of the victims as 21-year-old Marist student Eva Block from Woodbridge, Connecticut. Fellow student Kerry Fitzsimmons of Commack, Long Island was also killed.

Four other people in the house escaped without serious injuries.

Marist College postponed two basketball games “out of respect for the students affected by this tragedy,” Deborah DiCaprio, Marist’s vice president and dean for student affairs, said in a statement Saturday.

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

3 people were killed in a fire at Marist College (credit:CBS2)

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, 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.

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

The first firefighters to respond to the emergency call tried to get into the house, but were forced back by the heat and flames, said Chris Maeder, chief of the Fairview Fire District, one of a handful of agencies that responded to the emergency call.

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.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Maeder said the fire is believed to have started in the rear of the first floor.

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Comments (9)
  1. Nick says:

    Very very sad. RIP to the ppl tht died. 🙁

  2. Mike Hawthorne says:

    RIP – thoughts and wishes to friends and family

  3. carol says:

    Please, please, please make it is a law to have all the facts present
    regarding electrical, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms, etc
    before some places their kids in off campus housing.

    Colleges should give kids an access sheet to accomplish this.
    parents should be with them and ask questions of the town and

    these poor parents. these poor students. my heart breaks for them

  4. Peggy says:

    Very sad.

  5. jay says:

    why was the house torn down whats the city covering up and shame on the landlord for not making sure the house was safe , we have three new angels make them rest in peace , luv ya

  6. IM says:

    Shame on the landlord; that’s who is aware of the dangers in their property. this is happening around the country in substandard off campus housing. Landlords take advantage of young renters who don’t know to look for safety measures.

  7. Scott says:

    Was there use of SMOKE ALARMS AND CARBON MONOXIDE devices in this building and other Town, Village, or Hamlets in this City ?

    1. BF says:

      It’s NOT the elected officials jobs to make sure there are WORKING batteries in the smoke/CO detectors. You can take a horse to water but you can’t force it to drink….

      1. observer says:

        An earlier press release noted first-responders heard working smoke and fire alarms within the house going off. Unsure why elected officials would be responsible if not, since regulations and laws are promulgated requiring them already, thus the elected officials carried out that minimum burden.

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