St. Thomas Student Dies in House Fire

A University of St. Thomas student died early Saturday in a house fire east of the St. Paul campus, and three other people escaped by jumping from a second-story window.

The student, whose name will not be released until relatives are notified, died in the 3 a.m. fire at 1795 Selby Ave. The other three people, at least two of whom were St. Thomas students, were taken to Regions Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation and minor injuries.

St. Paul Fire Department officials said five people were watching television on the first floor of the house Friday evening. One of them left to go home and the other four went to bed at 1:45 – three went upstairs and one stayed on the living room couch.

A smoke alarm went off at 3 a.m. The three people upstairs didn’t believe they could make it downstairs because the smoke was too thick, so they jumped out of a second-floor bedroom window. The student who died was found on the first floor by St. Paul firefighters.

The fire department said a preliminary investigation indicates the fire started on the front porch. The house suffered extensive damage.

Father Erich Rutten, director of Campus Ministry, will lead a prayer service for the deceased student at 6 p.m. today (Saturday) in the lower level of the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas.