They described the fireplace as being "functional" but lacking usual safety devices such as a screen.
They also believe that an artificial firelog was burned in the hearth that fateful night...the type which--unlike real wood--does not spew sparks. Because of that, they are unable to determine how the flame within the hearth came in contact with combustible materials outside it.
They do say, however, that those who escaped with their lives did so because they knew what to do in a fire, while those who perished either did not or could not react accordingly.
Moreover, fire officials believe there are many lessons to be learned from the mistakes of the tragedy and that Thanksgiving, when many college students are home, is a perfect time for parents to have a discussion with their kids about their living conditions particularly if they live off-campus.
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