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Breaking News

Three Dead, 25 Injured in Seton Hall University Dorm Fire

Aired January 19, 2000 - 8:23 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: We've been following a breaking news story, this morning, in East Orange, New Jersey, where a fire broke out in a dormitory at Seton Hall University.

With us now on the telephone is CNN producer Dana Garrett with more details -- Dana.

DANA GARRETT, CNN PRODUCER: Good morning, Carol.

It is calm now at ton Hall University, though there are still emergency vehicles parked outside of Boland Hall, which is a residence facility, freshman residence, where a fire broke out at about 4:30, this morning. University officials confirm that three people died in that fire. They cannot confirm that they are students here, although that is their assumption; there's no other -- there are only resident students that live in that hall.

The interesting thing, the sad thing that some students have reported, this morning, to us is that there had been a number of pranksters doing fire alarms before finals week, and so when the students this morning heard the fire alarms go off, many of them just felt that it was another prank and didn't pay attention. And then, obviously, smoke started filling the dorm they realized that it was serious and started to leave the building.

Twenty -- in addition to the three fatalities, 25 students were injured, suffering from smoke inhalation to burns. They were all transported to area hospitals. And as I said, things are -- have calmed down at this point now and parents will be arriving on the scene, I'm sure, concerned.

We will have regular updates, and when we have more we will get back to you.

LIN: Dana, are firefighters still going through the dormitory, looking for more victims right now.

GARRETT: The university says that they are trying to confirm that everybody was out of the building. They evacuated the residence. There still are firefighters on the scene, though the fire is out, but they still continue to search the building to make sure that they can account for all the residents that lived in that facility.

LIN: Any word yet as to where the fire started? GARRETT: The fire began on a third-floor commons area. One of the students told me it was like a lounge area. But they at this point do not know how that started. But it didn't appear to be in a dorm room but more in a commons area.

LIN: And you have it confirmed that potentially the three students who died perhaps died because they didn't respond to the fire alarm?

GARRETT: Well, there's no way to tell that right now. They -- there was very little information about how the students die except for the fact that they did die in the dorm, not in the hospital. But that is just one of the sad things that we are hearing is that many of -- many students said that many of them had just ignored the fire alarms when they first heard them, so, you know.

LIN: All right, Dana Garrett, CNN producer out on the scene of Seton Hall University. Twenty-five students injured, at least, and at least three dead. The search is under way for more victims.

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