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NMSU Fire Department hosts safety event, “After the Fire” film screening

Two men will make their third trip to New Mexico State University on Tuesday, Aug. 27 to share their inspiring story of survival as roommates caught in the devastating residence hall fire at Seton Hall University that killed three people.


Two men standing side by side
NMSU’s “After the Fire” Safety Event, which begins at 7 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Corbett Center Outdoor Stage, will feature Alvaro Llanos and Shawn Simons. The two men will survived the 2000 Seton Hall University fire that killed three people and injured 58.(Courtesy Photo)

The “After the Fire” Safety Event, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Corbett Center Outdoor Stage, will feature Alvaro Llanos and Shawn Simons, who suffered serious burns as freshmen when they tried to escape the Seton Hall dorm fire in 2000. Three fellow students died in the fire and 58 others were injured.

The presentation will include a screening of their documentary “After The Fire: A True Story of Heroes & Cowards,” followed by a question and answer discussion with the men as well as a powerful reading from their book. The event is free and open to the public.

Llanos and Simons woke up when they heard the fire alarms, but because there had been many false alarms – more than 30 in the previous semester, they went back to sleep.

“The students didn’t pay attention to the fire alarms and it changed their lives forever,” said NMSU Fire Chief Johnny Carrillo. “Now they (Llanos and Simons) look for alternate exits wherever they go. They travel around the country as guest speakers because they want to prevent other students from going through the same thing they went through.”

Tuesday’s event will also feature the Doña Ana County fire safety trailer, where participants will learn how to safely extinguish a simulated kitchen fire. Children and parents will also learn to practice Exit Drills in the Home, or E.D.I.T.H., so they will know how to escape a fire in their home.

The “After The Fire” event is sponsored by the NMSU Fire Department, Housing and Residential Life, the Dean of Students, NMSU Police Department and NMSU Dining.