The Fire That Inspired
Alisha Parker | On 28, Feb 2017
On February 2, Hudson Catholic juniors and seniors were introduced to two brave burn victims with an inspiring story to tell. Alvaro Llanos and Shawn Simons were both roommates at Seton Hall University in 2000 when a dormitory fire was started, killing three students and severely injuring many more, among them being Mr. Llanos and Mr. Simons.
Their visit to Hudson consisted of a presentation of their documentary which was based on the whole experience of what happened to the men in the fire, who caused the fire, and the investigation behind it, how the families were handling the tragic incident, and commentary from members of the hospital staff that worked with Mr. Llanos and Mr. Simons. They also gave a brief discussion on fire safety, and Mr. Simons read an excerpt from his book After The Fire.
When asked by The Commentator what thoughts were going through their head as they realized that they were trapped inside the building, Mr. Simons responded, “Once we opened our door and saw the smoke it was a terrified and panicked feeling… our adrenaline kicked in… all we could think about was getting out.”
That life changing night cause the two men to change not only physically but mentally. When asked what they would be doing if the fire had never occurred, Mr. Simons stated, “going to school for business, I always thought I was going to be this Wall street executive… I never thought that I would be a motivational speaker..,” and Mr. Llano responded, ” I definitely never thought I’d be a motivational speaker… I hate being the center of attention… I pictured myself [working] behind the scenes doing computer science… just working on computers.”
The main goal they had set out to accomplish since they recovered from the fire was to educate children and school more on fire safety. They made a point saying fire safety is something usually taught in elementary school and is never reiterated again in high school or college and because of that they were put in the situation that they were in not knowing what to do or the proper safety precautions to take. They make it a point to speak to college students and usually high school seniors just so that they can spread awareness and even motivate students through their incredible story.