We recently received an email from the mother of a student who attended N.C. State University – his name was Cody Blue. He rushed his freshman year and moved into the one of the fraternity’s duplex houses soon afterward. The house had a total of eight fraternity brothers -two in the basement.
Here’s what happened:
Cody went to the house after work that Thursday night and spoke to the tenants who were gathered on the other side of the duplex. He went to his room sometime after 11:00 p.m. His last phone call was from his girlfriend right after midnight. He was scheduled to work the next morning. In the house that night were several guests, on the middle floor under Cody’s room, playing pool and drinking. The last four people left after 4:30 a.m.
The other side of the duplex had sufficient alarms, ladders, extinguishers. The occupant of Cody’s side in the basement who had a alarm, escaped. The occupant whose bedroom was beside Cody’s, jumped from the back window of his bedroom (three flights down.)
The cause of the fire was a discarded cigarette that was thrown or had fallen into a love seat and combusted. The pine walls in the 1965 house acted like kindling. We found the smoke alarms in the closet outside Cody’s room after the fire, still in the package.
Around 6:30 a.m., a fire erupted in the house and spread quickly up the stairs on Cody’s side of the house. According to reports the fire department arrived at 6:30 a.m. to find the house engulfed in flames. Cody and another young man were trapped on the second floor and both died from smoke inhalation.
Our hearts go out to the Blue family and we thank Cody’s mother for reaching out to us. But more importantly she has turned this tragedy into something good – the Cody Blue Foundation. There are many reasons a home – old or new – can injure or kill. We want to be sure the students of the District of Columbia have the knowledge to know where their fire alarms are or where to get them if they don’t have them. And we want them to know their house has been inspected and is safe.
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