Return to Headlines

"After the Fire" Presentation Teaches FHS Seniors

In January 2000, Alvaro Llanos and Shawn Simons were college freshmen at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ. They were roommates on the 3rd floor of Bolan Hall and were determined to get the most from the college experience.

In the early morning hours of January 19, 2000, their lives, and the lives of many others, changed when an intentionally set fire turned their dorm into an inferno.

Mr. Llanos and Mr. Simons visited Freehold High School on June 5th to speak about their experience, their determination, and perseverance to overcome their life-altering injuries. Theirs is a story of survival.

The two friends travel the country speaking to college and high school students about fire safety. They are making a huge impact as advocates, so other students do not have to suffer the same fate. They offer inspiration to face life’s challenges and obstacles.

The presentation began with a viewing of the documentary film, After the Fire. The film addressed each aspect of the fire and its aftermath, including the night of, the recovery of the victims, the interaction of medical providers and the survivors' families, along with the investigation and subsequent prosecution of the two students responsible for setting the fire.

Following the film, Mr. Llanos and Mr. Simons spoke of their personal experiences the night of the fire and recounted their efforts to escape, awakening in the hospital and enduring the medical procedures necessary to save their lives. Fire safety information was delivered to an attentive audience by two people who lived the experience. They urged members of the senior class to never ignore a fire drill and to have a safety plan in place.

Alvaro Llanos and Shawn Simons speak to students