Update: Thursday, October 27, 2011
Members of the Emporia State University community came together Thursday to remember two students who came to America to pursue their dreams. Zheng Lin and Yawei Fan were killed last week in a house fire.
Lin, 22, was close to graduating with a masters degree in English. ESU Graduate Studies Director Mel Storm says Lin was aspiring to become a Chinese-English interpreter when she returned to her home in northeastern China.
"She said at one point that China needed more and more teachers who were fluent and graceful in English and she hoped to be able to help with that," said Storm.
Fan, 23, was no different. He had high hopes of graduating with a bachelor's degree in chemistry.
Both students received degree recognition's from Emporia State University during the memorial service. The student government passed a resolution in memory of the two international students.
"It's just right to do this in honor of their lives as well as to do this for their families because everybody is hurting right now. As a student body we're hurting," said ESU Student Government President Ashley Vogts.
Lin and Fan were loved by campus staff members and classmates. The couple's friend Boyuan Li says they were like family and their loss hurts more than words can express.
"Everybody who knew them will remember their kindness, their smiles... the things they did for everybody," said Li.
UPDATE: Monday, October 24, 2011
Plans are under way for a memorial service for two international Emporia State University students who died Thursday morning in an apartment fire.
In a press release, ESU officials said both Yawei Fan and Zheng Lin were from Liaoning province in China and came to ESU for the Fall 2009 semester.
Fan was a sophomore studying chemistry.
Lin was studying for her master’s degree in the Department of English, Modern Languages and Journalism. She worked at the Center for Early Childhood on campus.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Two Emporia State University students have been killed in a house fire at 12 East 11th Street in Emporia.
The cause of the fire has been determined to be combustibles too close in proximity to the floor furnace in the apartment.
Firefighters found heavy smoke on the main floor of the home shortly after midnight. One person was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy showed that he died as a result of inhalation of hot gases and products of combustion.
The second was taken to Newman Regional Health and then transferred to Via Christi Health in Wichita for treatment. She later died from her injuries.
Friends of the victims say the couple were from China and were studying at Emporia State University. Their names have not been released.
“I am deeply saddened by the death of two of our students", said Emporia State interim President Ed Flentje. "The entire Emporia State community sends thoughts and prayers to their families and friends during this difficult time.”
Fire investigators say these are the first two fire fatalities in Emporia, this year.