Campus Housing Fire Safety Video Honoring 2012 SIUE Students Viewed Nationally

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Campus Housing Fire Safety Video Honoring 2012 SIUE Students Viewed by More Than 31,600 Students Nationwide

... this video has in a way provided a form of healing by hopefully warning other college students, their parents and landlords about the risks of fire ...

Five years after an off-campus apartment fire killed Southern Illinois University Edwardsville students Lauren Petersen and Lacy Siddall, a first-of-its-kind fire safety video that was created last April to honor the students and help prevent similar tragedies has been viewed by more than 31,600 students on college campuses nationwide.

As students move into their apartments, dorms or other campus housing to begin fall classes at colleges and universities across the county, the families of the SIUE students who lost their lives, along with attorneys who represented the families in lawsuits against an insurance company regarding the fire, are encouraging schools to continue to make the safety video readily available for viewing by students.

Colleges and affiliated organizations such as fraternities and sororities interested in using the video as part of their programming for students can e-mail info@reslife.com for information. The video can be seen at simmonsfirm.com/fire-safety-video/.

The Petersen and Siddall families used a portion of their settlements with the insurance company to help produce the video. The families’ lawyers from law firm Simmons Hanly Conroy, along with attorney Tom Long, also helped fund and manage the project.

“The deaths of Lauren and Lacy were tragedies, and this video has in a way provided a form of healing by hopefully warning other college students, their parents and landlords about the risks of fire in both on- and off-campus housing,” said Ted N. Gianaris, the Simmons Hanly Conroy shareholder who oversaw the wrongful death lawsuit.

From 2000-2014, approximately 126 students have perished from fires that occurred on a college campus, in Greek housing or off-campus housing within three miles of their institution, according to the Center for Campus Fire Safety (The Center), a non-profit organization devoted to reducing the loss of life from fire at college campuses. More than 85 percent of the fatal fires during that time occurred in off-campus housing.

The video features the girls’ mutual friend Taylor Scott talking about how much she misses them. It underscores the dangers of campus fires through state-of-the-art, slow-motion footage that illustrates how quickly a fire can spread. The video also includes footage from the aftermath of the fire that claimed the girls’ lives.

The girls’ families, their attorneys and Simmons Hanly Conroy partnered with SIUE University Housing, Residence Life Cinema and Switch to produce the video, which was distributed to more than 200 universities and colleges nationwide via Residence Life Cinema, a division of Swank Motion Pictures.

The lawsuit on behalf of the deceased SIUE students’ families focused on improperly placed smoke and fire alarms. Investigation during litigation ruled out the initial theory that the fire was caused by a laptop. The families and their attorneys believe hard-fought lawsuits can result in making children and families safer by educating them about fire safety, and encouraging schools and off-campus student housing facilities to upgrade and maintain their fire protection systems.

“It is extremely gratifying that our law firm, along with Thomas Long and the families of Lauren and Lacy could come together on this important project that is making a significant impact by helping to save lives,” Gianaris said.

About Simmons Hanly Conroy, LLC
Simmons Hanly Conroy is one of the nation’s largest mass tort law firms. Primary areas of litigation include asbestos and mesothelioma, pharmaceutical, consumer protection, environmental and personal injury. The firm’s attorneys have been appointed to leadership in numerous national multidistrict litigations, including Vioxx, Yaz, Toyota Unintended Acceleration and DePuy Pinnacle. The firm also represents small and mid-size corporations, inventors and entrepreneurs in matters involving business litigation. Offices are located in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Alton, Ill. Read more at simmonsfirm.com.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high quality, affordable education that prepares them for successful careers and lives of purpose to shape a changing world. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of more than 14,000.

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