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IU Student Dies In Apartment Fire

Last updated on Monday, October 3, 2011

(BLOOMINGTON) - A 19-year-old Indiana University freshman Renee Ohrn died in a fire at an apartment complex near the IU campus in Bloomington early Saturday morning, say Monroe County Coroner Nicole Meyer.

Ohrn was staying with a friend when the fire broke out at Terra Trace Apartments. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

At least five other people were injured, including one police officer and one firefighter.

Bloomington Fire Department Chief Roger Kerr says investigators were still determining the cause of the fire that completely destroyed 12 apartments in one building.

The fire possibly started on the second floor of the three-story building around 3:45 a.m.

The apartments are located off 14th street east of Walnut Street.

Ohrn, a student from Gary live in Eigenmann Hall but was spending the night at a friend's apartment. Ohrn was pronounced dead at IU Health Bloomington Hospital at 4:32 a.m. Saturday, Meyer said.

At least three people were treated for minor injuries at the scene, Kerr says.

Bloomington police Sgt. James Batcho suffered smoke inhalation and Bloomington fire Capt. Woodrow Hueston suffered dehydration. They were injured after they entered the building to rescue residents. Both were treated and released from IU Health Bloomington Hospital, Kerr says.

The Fire

Kerr says when engines arrived at 3:30 a.m., the building was engulfed in flames. Firefighters battled the blaze for more than two hours, says Kerr. Firefighters spent time conducting sweeps of the building to rescue and search for residents.

Kerr says there is massive damage to all 12 apartment units.

Five fire engines, two trucks and two rescue vehicles, were at the scene.

Bloomington Township firefighters, IU police and members of IU Health Bloomington Hospital's ambulance service assisted city firefighters and police at the scene.

The state fire marshal's office has been contacted because of the fatality, but has not been asked to investigate, Kerr said.

Red Cross

Maria Del Mar Carrasquillo, director of emergency services for the American Red Cross, said she got a call from the fire department shortly after 4 a.m.

Red Cross volunteers were providing food, blankets and comfort, and helping relocate affected students to Forrest Quad for the remainder of the night into the morning hours.

University officials spent Saturday morning establishing temporary housing and meal cards for five displaced students at Forrest Quad.

University officials say displaced students will be given the option, plus assistant through reduced room and board rates to live in the dorms for the rest of the semester.

Grief counselors were on hand to assist students at Eigenmann Hall on Saturday.

News Conference

Officials from Indiana University and the Bloomington police and fire departments have scheduled a news conference for 1 p.m. Monday at Bloomington Fire Department headquarters at 300 E. Fourth St.

Investigators will meet at 9 a.m. Monday prior to the press conference, Kerr said.

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