Monday, December 11, 2000

Student dies in suspicious fire at UD

By William A. Weathers
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cohen (1987)
        DAYTON A University of Dayton student from Loveland died Sunday in an early morning house fire near campus that firefighters are calling suspicious.

        Investigators were looking into the possibility that other students may have been tossing lit pieces of paper or other burning items.

        “That is one possibility we are looking at,” Dayton fire investigator Bruce Van Dorpe said.

        Seven housemates escaped the 5:15 a.m. blaze, which destroyed a two-story wood frame house owned by the university, fire officials said.

        University officials said the body of Austin “A.J.” Cohen, a 21-year-old senior economics major and wide receiver on the football team, was found in a second-story bedroom. Fire officials were waiting Sunday night for dental records to make a positive ID.

        “We're deeply saddened and sorry this happened,” Brother Raymond Fitz, S.M., university president, said Sunday. “This is a tragic time for the University of Dayton community. Our prayers go out to the family, friends, professors and staff whose lives were touched by this young man.”

        Hundreds of students attended a Sunday afternoon prayer service at the university's McGinnis Center, during which the victim was described as “fun,” “charismatic,” kind-hearted” and “original.”

        The victim's brother, Dustin Cohen, a former Miami University football player, was expected to make his NFL debut with the St. Louis Rams Sunday. But he was not activated after learning of his brother's death.


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