University to remember students lost in apartment blaze 25 years ago

By Amelia Blakely

On the 25-year anniversary of the Pyramid Apartments fire, which killed five SIU students, a memorial service will be held at 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday at the memorial stone near the Boat Dock at Campus Lake.

The blaze started in the early morning of Dec. 6, 1992. Many other residents were injured, according to a university press release.

The students who died were Ronald A. Moy of Chicago, Cheng Teck Wong and Mazlina Ab Wahid of Malaysia, Kimioko Ajoika of Japan and Lai Hung Tam of Hong Kong.


Jeff Doherty, who was the Carbondale assistant city manager in 1992, said the incident took place in an apartment complex where the majority of residents were international students.

“They’re a close-knit group while here in Carbondale,” Doherty said. “Many knew those who died or were injured in the fire.”

Doherty counseled the grieving university students and community residents after the fire. He said, an event where several people lose their lives, and others are injured had a dramatic effect on the entire Carbondale community.

During his tenure as city manager, Doherty said public and fire safety issues loomed large for Carbondale residents.

The memorial service will allow the community to remember the students who lost their lives, Doherty said.

“For those of us that were here and lived through the event, it’ll be a solemn moment,” Doherty said. “It was a tragic event. We all felt a loss.”

The memorial service will feature speeches from Carla Coppi, a retired employee of the Center of International Education, Brad Cole, the 1992 president of the Undergraduate Student Government, Chancellor Carlo Montemagno and Lori Stettler, the interim vice chancellor of student affairs.


Staff writer Amelia Blakely can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @AmeilaBlakely.

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