Inspirational “After the Fire” program visits B-CS


By Christina Seidel, CSFD Public Education Officer

Early one January morning in 2000, arsonists set fire to a dormitory at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J. Roommates Alvaro Llanos and Shawn Simons crawled through the smoke in the direction they were used to going.

They didn’t know they were crawling right into the fire.

Simons suffered third-degree burns on his palms, second-degree burns on his head and face, and a significant amount of smoke inhalation. Llanos’ coat ignited, causing third-degree burns from his head to his torso.

Simons and Llanos, along with 56 other injured students, were transported to St. Barnabas Medical Burn Unit in nearby Livingston. Three classmates died, and a pair of freshmen were eventually charged with the crime. The fire started when they set a bulletin board banner on fire as a prank.

Simons and Llanos spent years recovering from their physical and emotional injuries. Since that tragic day, they have advocated fire safety and prevention and served as a voice for burn victims across the country through a free program called After the Fire.

The pair will be in Bryan-College Station Sept. 13-15 for a series of seven presentations about their experiences:

Tuesday, Sept. 13

  • Bryan and Rudder high schools, (students only)
  • Texas A&M’s Rudder Theater, 7 p.m. (public, college students)

Wednesday, Sept. 14

  • A&M Consolidated and College Station high schools (students only)
  • Texas A&M’s Rudder Theater, 7 p.m. (public, college students)

Thursday, Sept. 15

  • Texas A&M’s Rudder Theater, 1:30 p.m. (public, city staff, sponsors, guests)

Shawn and Alvaro will be introduced at each presentation by Bryan firefighter Ricky Mantey, Jr., who was severely burned in the tragic Knights of Columbus Hall fire in 2013.

The College Station Fire Department, Bryan Fire Department, and Texas A&M’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety are hosting the presentations, which are sponsored by Siemens and Standard Automatic Fire Enterprises.

For more information about the program, contact CSFD Public Education Officer Christina Seidel at or 979-764-3712.

SeidelAbout the Author

Christina Seidel has been the College Station Fire Department’s Public Education Officer since 2013. She previously served as executive director of the Children’s Museum of the Brazos Valley and was a teacher for several years in her hometown of Lockhart. Seidel earned a bachelor’s degree in developmental psychology from the University of Texas in 2001.


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One thought on “Inspirational “After the Fire” program visits B-CS

  1. If you’re interested in attending one of the events on the Texas A&M Campus, you can register for one of the events here! RSVPs are encouraged but not necessary!
    After the Fire – Tuesday from 7pm-9pm –
    After the Fire – Wednesday from 7pm-9pm –
    After the Fire – Thursday from 1:30pm-3:30pm –

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