July 27, 2012
Danielle Lacey

Students Meet, Thank First Responders to Fire

Students displaced by a major off-campus apartment fire on Lindell got the opportunity to meet with and thank the teams of professionals who responded to the five-alarm blaze that took place July 18.

Mayor Francis Slay speaks at the podium during the special reception for fire victims July 26.
St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay speaks during the special reception held for victims of the July 18 fire. Photo by Michelle Peltier

Saint Louis University hosted a special reception yesterday, July 26, in DuBourg Hall for students, firefighters, police officers, aid workers and representatives from organizations that provided assistance.

"Today we gather to show our concern for students and others who lost their homes, our continued support as they rebuild their lives, and our heartfelt, eternal thanks to all the members of the city services who helped them and who worked so hard that evening," said Paul Stark, S.J., vice president of Mission and Ministry, to a standing room-only crowd.

Special guests at the event included Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson, Police Chief Dan Isom and St. Louis City Mayor Francis G. Slay, who shared a few comments with the affected students in attendance. All three are SLU alumni.

"You are part of the St. Louis family," Slay said. "And we're here to join with you — to give you some comfort and let you know that you are not in this alone."

Slay also lauded the first responders on the scene, especially those who fought the fire.

Ray Goff speaks to members of the St. Louis Fire Department.
Jay Goff, vice president for Enrollment and Retention Management, speaks with St. Louis firefighters.Photo by Michelle Peltier

"The bravery of our first responders blazed more brightly than the flames they were challenging themselves to suppress," Slay said.

More than 100 students were displaced by the fire. SLU has provided temporary housing and other assistance. Additionally, the University's Center for Service and Community Engagement has been collecting clothes, food and toiletries. The center distributed some of the donated items Thursday.

While the special event provided an opportunity for SLU officials — including Kent Porterfield, Ed.D., vice president for Student Development; and Jay Goff, vice president for Enrollment and Retention Management — to thank the first responders, the mayor also commended SLU for its response.

"Saint Louis University stepped up in a very big moment of crisis, but my experience is that's what they do," Slay said. "It's an outstanding university that cares about its students, staff members, alums and its community."

SLU Student Emergency Relief Fund

In response to the fire, the Divisions of Mission and Ministry and Student Development have established the SLU Student Emergency Relief Fund to serve students who experience emergencies during their time at the University. Members of the University community may donate to the fund through payroll deduction or by check sent in care of Tom Vincent, manager with Advancement Systems, to Room 302 in DuBourg Hall.

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