Our Student Heroes

Sent Monday, March 26, 2018

To the Campus Community:

On Friday, March 23, a fire adjacent to our campus and located on the 200 block of Cooper Street claimed the life of a man in his 60s. His elderly father, however, survived this tragedy thanks to the bravery and compassion of Rutgers–Camden students who alerted the building occupants, notified the authorities, and ultimately escorted the 90-year-old out of the building and to safety.

The Philadelphia Inquirer offers interviews with some of those students, who share their perspectives on the crisis.

We offer our condolences to the family of the man who died and we are heartened by the bravery of our students. They responded immediately to the situation by encouraging residents in neighboring buildings to evacuate, by assisting residents seeking to escape the burning home, and by helping first responders on the scene.

I have offered my deepest appreciation for the selflessness and heroism exhibited by Rutgers–Camden students Matteo Resanovic, Jonathan Perez, Vanessa Solis Palma, Cory Zytko, Sehwan Park, and Tammy Meneses. They are role models and displayed the very essence of civic-minded leadership that is embedded in what we do here at Rutgers University–Camden.

I also wish to thank the Camden Fire Department, the Camden Metro Police, and the Rutgers University Police Department for their swift responses to the fire. Their daily acts of heroism often go unrecognized, and the collaboration among these units helped to limit the scope of this tragic situation.

Two Rutgers–Camden students living in a privately owned building next to the fire scene were temporarily displaced. The Division of Student Affairs has provided temporary accommodations for them.

There may be opportunities to further recognize the bravery of our Rutgers–Camden students. For now, please join me expressing our appreciation and respect to these students and the first responders, and in offering our condolences and prayers to our neighbors who lost a family member in the fire that claimed their home.

Phoebe A. Haddon, J.D., LL.M.

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