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2 SIUE Students Die After Apartment Fire

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EDWARDSVILLE, IL (KTVI) - Hospital officials confirm two Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville students who were critically injured in a fire have died. Lauren Petersen, 19, and Lacy Siddall, 21, both of Bethalto died Monday morning.  The fire appeared to have started near a laptop computer, said Edwardsville Fire Chief, Rick Welle.

The apartment in the 600 block of Hillsboro is just blocks from the firehouse. The fire was seemingly too small to have such tragic consequences. “It was a very rapidly moving situation,” said Welle. “We had crews on the scene very quickly. We had them up the stairs very quickly and we them pulled out very quickly. As many things from our end as possible that could have been done, were done to give [the victims] every chance.

He said firefighters found the women in an area between their bedrooms in their upstairs apartment just before 4:00 a.m. Sunday. Both women suffered burns and smoke inhalation. “[The] investigation showed that the point of origin was around the be in one of the bedrooms. there was a laptop computer on the bed that was plugged into a power strip,” Welle said.

He also said there was a smoke detector inside the department, but it wasn`t going off when firefighters arrived. Then they brought it out of the apartment, there was no battery in it. “This is a university community. With students living both on campus and off campus, it`s of critical importance for us to make sure all of the fire protection systems are operational,” Welle said.

He credited a neighbor, who heard something next-door, then noticed the fire and called 911.“It always starts with someone noticing something and notifying 911 immediately,” Welle said.

He also knew that had a smoke detector been blaring, the women might have already been standing outside the apartment when the first firefighters arrived. He said the fire was "out" within 20 minutes.

The two women were airlifted to a St. Louis hospital where they later died from their injuries.

Laptop battery recalls: Here are some links to check to see if your laptop battery has been recalled, and some ways to make sure you're operating a power strip in a safe way.