State News

Student From Ohio Killed in Fire Remembered

Posted November 3, 2007

— More than 600 people crowded a suburban Cleveland church Saturday to remember a young Ohio woman, one of seven college students killed in a North Carolina beach house fire last weekend, a church minister said.

The 1 hour, 15 minute service at The Federated Church-United Church of Christ was a celebration of the life of Allison Walden, 19, a University of South Carolina sophomore who enrolled at the school because of the warm weather and the campus sorority scene.

Walden was recognized for her energetic and cheerful ways and her commitment to her studies.

"There was lots of laughter, and lots of tears," the Rev. Mark Simone said. "But it was difficult. It's been such a loss to the community."

Five other USC students and one student from Clemson University were killed in the Oct. 28 fire at a house in Ocean Isle Beach, where they had been spending the weekend. Six students from USC survived.

"It just boils down to this: It was a tragic accident," Simone said by phone after the service. "I told everyone that I don't know how to make sense of this. I don't believe God takes people. I believe he receives them."

Jerry Brewer, the university's associate vice president for student affairs, and a half dozen of Walden's sorority sisters traveled from South Carolina to attend the service, Simone said.

Justin Michael Anderson, 19, was laid to rest Saturday in Greenville, S.C. There was also a funeral service Saturday for Travis Lane Cale, 19, in Simpsonville, S.C.

Cassidy Fae Pendley, 18; Lauren Astrid Kristiana Mahon, 18; William Rhea, 18; and Emily Lauren Yelton, 18, also died in the house fire at 1 Scotland St.

Due to the extensive damage, it was impossible for investigators to uncover a definite cause, but they speculated that the blaze could have started from improperly discarded smoking materials, Ocean Isle Mayor Debbie Smith said Friday.


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  • BUCKEYEnNC Nov 5, 2007

    dmac76, I would say yes! Remember the Delaware State students in Philly where were murdered in a school yard? There was alot of coverage surrounding that event.

    We don't everyone piling on because of this question. Everyday we have innocent people of color murdered in our cities and towns. Very few make the news anymore because it is so common. It takes a very violent or unique set of circumstances to generate the attention that the O.I. fire is getting.

  • parr4246 Nov 4, 2007

    dmac76.........."I truly feel sorry for the families and friends of these students. However, I have to ask myself, if these students were attended NCCU,Shaw U, or St. Aug, would they receive the same coverage?"

    it either of the universities you mentioned had experienced such a tragic loss, I'm sure they would have received the same coverage.........and with an attitude like you have on the subject.....I truly doubt that you have any sorrow about the case or for the families......!!!

  • Offshore Nov 4, 2007

    Why would anyone ask a question like this? It's a tragedy, not a racial issue. Bless those who passed and prayers to the families and friends.

  • Offshore Nov 4, 2007

    It didn't happen to a school, it happened to 7 young adults at a beach house who happen to go to college. Geography or race didn't dictate the coverage.

  • Offshore Nov 4, 2007

    dmac76, strange question. I believe it would carry this much weight no matter what school the kids went to. They were all together at a beach house. Prayers to the families of these kids.

  • Offshore Nov 4, 2007

    dmac76, you are way off base. Prayers to the families and friends of these kids. I wouldn't wish this tragedy on ANY family, no matter what the race.

  • Offshore Nov 4, 2007

    Think of the families who lost their loved ones and say your prayers for them. Why on God's green Earth would someone pull out the race card on this issue? Some people...

  • livin2dance03 Nov 4, 2007

    If this tragedy happened to any school, I think it would receive the same reaction. This has absolutely nothing to do with please don't try to start something. We have Jessie and Al to do all that. Praying for the families still!

  • livin2dance03 Nov 4, 2007

    I think any school would have seen this much coverage if this event happened. It's not a racial let's not try to make it one. That's what Jessie and all those leaders are for.

  • dmac76 Nov 3, 2007

    I truly feel sorry for the families and friends of these students. However, I have to ask myself, if these students were attended NCCU,Shaw U, or St. Aug, would they receive the same coverage?