Read After the Fire: A True Story of Friendship and Survival by Robin Gaby Fisher Online


On January 19, 2000, a fire raged through Seton Hall University's freshman dormitory, killing three students and injuring 58 others. Among the victims were Shawn Simons and Alvaro Llanos, roommates from poor neighborhoods who made their families proud by getting into college. They managed to escape, but both were burned terribly.After the Fire is the story of these young mOn January 19, 2000, a fire raged through Seton Hall University's freshman dormitory, killing three students and injuring 58 others. Among the victims were Shawn Simons and Alvaro Llanos, roommates from poor neighborhoods who made their families proud by getting into college. They managed to escape, but both were burned terribly.After the Fire is the story of these young men and their courageous fight to recover from the worst damage the burn unit at Saint Barnabas hospital had ever seen. It is the story of the extraordinary doctors and nurses who work with the burned. It is the story of mothers and fathers, of faith and family and the invisible ties that bind us to each other. It is the story of the search for the arsonists - and the elaborate cover-up that nearly obscured the truth. And it is the story of the women who came to love these men, who knew that real beauty is a thing not seen in mirrors....

Title : After the Fire: A True Story of Friendship and Survival
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780316066211
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 261 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

After the Fire: A True Story of Friendship and Survival Reviews

  • Noelle (Pandora) Kukenas
    2019-05-20 13:18

    The story of two incredibly brave young men who were burned terribly in the Seton Hall Fire of 2000. While parts of the story were difficult to get through (graphic descriptions of their treatments in the 'tank room' of the burn unit), I couldn't put the book down (except to work and really had no choice in the matter) and read the book in two days. Well written by a woman who documents details of the incredible journey these two young men traveled, including insight into the amazing and miraculous world of the burn unit and its staff at St Barnabas' Hospital. I shall not forget these courageous young men or the totally committed medical staff who treated them; their stories have made me even more aware of fire safety and bring a new perspective on not giving up just because something is tough.

  • Anna
    2019-05-12 14:40

    A quick read, but horrifying and infuriating. In January of 2000, two students at Seton Hall University in New Jersey started a fire in a dorm that killed three students and injured 58. This book follows the recovery of two of the worst burned. The author goes into a lot of detail about the treatment of burns and the various ways that people end up in the burn unit. I could have lived without the descriptions of children who ended up in the burn unit because of horrific abuse. That alone was enough to make me want to hurt someone, but the way parents and friends of the arsonists circled the wagons around them so that police couldn't make a case against them made me sick. It finally took a tip from a mafia informant to break the case. The author also does a good job of being fair to Alvaro's girlfriend Angie. Ultimately she was too young and too traumatized to deal with the stress of his long recovery and permanent disfigurement. She could have easily been demonized for leaving him when he was so vulnerable, but I ended up feeling sorry for her and feeling that she was just another victim.

  • Coco
    2019-05-26 13:33

    I really don't know why I didn't love this book. The other reviews are glowing and the story is certainly captivating, but for some reason, it just didn't grab me. It seemed like a surface reporting of the facts and didn't really delve down into the raw emotions. The characters were very black and white, reminiscent of a magazine or newspaper article. The book was interesting and the story, of a fire at Seton Hall's freshman dorm, is well chronicled. The friendship that grows between two of the badly burned survivors is inspirational, just not quite as amazing as I was hoping it would be. My favorite parts are when the author describes the special doctors and nurses who work on the burn unit. She really brings them to life and it was fascinating to get a glimpse into the heartwrenching work they do.

  • Britni
    2019-05-25 19:27

    There are times in each of our lives that we'll never forget. The moment you found out about planes crashing into the World Trade Center, the day Princess Diana died, etc. The moments that you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing. After the Fire is about one of those moments for students at Seton Hall University in 2000 when a fire started in the middle of the night, killing three students and injuring a dozen others. After the Fire follows the true story of the struggles and triumphs of two of those students, Alvaro Llanos and Shawn Simons, as they recovered from the tragedy.A book written by Gaby Fisher, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, this book is extremely well written and gives you an insight into an event that many of us probably didn't even know happened. It's a somewhat difficult read, similar to Columbine, as you read through the true accounts of the boys' tough recovery, but if you're up for it, the value and message of finding hope and beauty when it seems like there is none, is worth the time it takes to get through the 200 pages.

  • Jeffrey
    2019-05-12 18:38

    After the Fire: A True Story of Friendship and Survival In January of 2000, a fire spread throughout the freshman dorm at Seton Hall, killing three and burning scores of others. This book follows the recovery and turmoil caused to two roommates that were burned in that fire. The Boland Hall fire was set by two students for reasons still unknown and unclear. Yet, the book focuses on the recovery and friendship of Shaw and Alvaro, two roommates caught in the blaze. The story is sad, yet uplifting and eventually happy. To get there you have to endure the struggles in the burn center and the investigation into the fire that pits police against soulless monsters that inhabit our youth. The accomplishments of Shawn and Alvaro are truly uplifting and the angelic work of the Doctors and nurses at Saint Barnabas make this book a real pleasure to read. The author chose the perfect voice for her work, she could have turned this story into a dark tale of evil, but the goodness of the people really stand out.

  • Ari
    2019-05-23 17:35

    What a hard story to read, I really didn't realize what I was getting myself into. I saw this book recommended somewhere and put it on my to buy list and finally got around to getting it recently, but I didn't remember what it was about. It is the hard true story about two students who were severely burned by a dorm fire at Seton Hall. It was unbelievably painful to read, as it goes into detail about the treatments they go through, and so on. I found myself tearing up by page 14, and multiple times throughout the book I just wanted to cry for them. It was interesting to read, and I definitely read it quickly because I wanted to know what happened, but it was hard to get through.

  • Farrah
    2019-05-03 18:30

    It was a quick and easy read about something I knew nothing about (the Seton Hall dorm fire that killed three and injured about 50 others) but I'm not sure it needed to have an entire book written about it - seemed more suited like a long form magazine article. Also I thought the author was remiss in not including more about the perpetrators and the arson investigation. I will say though that it offered a lot of insight into what burn victims have to go through in their recovery process.

  • Aubrey
    2019-04-29 17:24

    This drew me in from the first pages and kept me reading compulsively. A horrifying dorm fire leaves two roommates burned, but not broken. Their friendship is strong and helps them both to heal. Amazing details about surviving horrible burns, working in the burn unit of a hospital, and how a tragedy like this affects so many people. You will want to buy an escape ladder and a fire extinguisher (or several) for your house after reading.

  • Heather
    2019-05-13 20:20

    This a very sad story, makes me think of a friend's brother who was a victim of a fire and what it must have been like for their family. Gives you new appreciation of what burn victims endure.

  • Rhonda
    2019-05-19 15:38

    Recommended in the Rocky Mountain News as touted by the publicists at the recent BookExpo in Los Angeles.

  • Robyn Dones
    2019-05-14 19:25

    Read in 2008

  • Erin
    2019-05-11 13:32

    Very quick, great read! Talk about some amazing boys.

  • Kirk Domenico
    2019-05-01 14:29

    Ίσως το καλύτερο βιβλίο που διάβασα φέτος .Χρειάζεσαι όμως αντοχές για να το ζήσεις.

  • Kiyoko
    2019-05-01 14:16

    This was a story that grabbed me from the first page. Read in a single sitting, it pulled me into the narrative and didn't let go until the final page. Simply and cleanly written, the personalities of the main characters are evident. Although this is a tale of physical, mental, and emotional misery it is also a tribute to the human spirit. Details of what is required to survive being burned alive are present but not in a way that gave me nightmares. The humanity of those who could only helplessly look on is shown without judgement or spin. Alvaro's girlfriend is allowed to be who she is, in that moment, without castigating her actions. The unraveling of Alvaro's parents emotions show their disoriented anguish and protective love.The book does not go into significant detail about the perpetrators of the fire that impacted these two men's lives, except through investigative facts, and how these victims dealt with the results of the plea bargain. This story gives us the opportunity to be part of the courage of these two men and their families. It is presented in a positive light. Some may think this is an injustice, for certainly there must have been dark days and weeks, anger and pity and fear, and the book does not dwell there. Life isn't fair. It is full of suffering and injustice and unanswered prayers. And sometimes, there is healing.

  • Stuart Nachbar
    2019-04-27 14:28

    Out of a Fire Two Men UnitedRobin Gaby Fisher’s After the Fire is a very moving story of two young men who escaped from a burning college dormitory at New Jersey’s Seton Hall University. While the story does provide some investigative information into the cause of the fire, it is not meant to be a police procedural; it is a story of how these two men were treated as burn victims and how their families and friends came together around them. Both of the men profiled, Shawn Simons and Alvaro Llanos were not only burned; they were brought to a nearby hospital in comatose states after they crawled down two flights of stairs and out of their dorm. The most graphic part of this story deals with “the Tank,” where burn victim’s wounds are treated. Sessions in the Tank between nurses, technicians and sedated patients are quite intense and painful, involving the cleaning, scrubbing and dressing of charred skin and tissue. However, the professionals in the Tank were among the most caring. This chapter made the story for me. There are more chapters about healing, from not only physical scars, but emotional ones as well. Alvaro loses a girlfriend through the healing process, but he later gains a new relationship which blossoms into marriage. The longer you read this story, the more you come to like Shawn and Alvaro. There are disappointments in this story, not with the writer as much as the conduct of the university officials and the former students who caused the fire. Fisher did not devote much space to the actual investigation and criminal charges, but there was enough covered to make me feel angry at the school. As one example, the university fined students $100 for missing fire drills while being cited for fire code violations during dorm safety inspections. I was also concerned about the school’s ability to manage a festive occasion; the fire had occurred late night after Seton Hall had upset St. John’s in a conference basketball game.If you have a child in college, or know someone who does, After the Fire can be a very inspirational gift. The friendship formed between Shawn and Alvaro is what college life should be about.

  • Robin Gaby
    2019-05-17 13:30

    "After the Fire" debuts on the New York Times Best Seller list on Sept. 14th.The Sept. 1 issue of People Magazine awarded "After the Fire" 4 out of 4 stars!*STARRED REVIEW-Publisher’s Weekly. June 30, 2008After the Fire: A True Story of Love and Survival Robin Gaby Fisher. Little, Brown, $24.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-316-06621-1Three students died and 58 were injured in the January 2000 fire that arsonists set in the student lounge of Seton Hall University in New Jersey. Newark Star Ledger reporter Fisher tells the story of the two “most badly burned” survivors (roommates Shawn Simons and Alvaro Llanos), proceeding from the devastating fire through the grueling medical treatment into their life-affirming future. A medical education and a detective story unfold within this consistently dramatic account, as Fisher joins a reporter's curiosity and objectivity to a near-familial access to the principals. Unsparing in her description of the hard path to recovery (“The gruesome nature of the work meant that few ever became old-timers in the occupation of treating burns”), Fisher takes the reader inside Saint Barnabas Burn Center, where the charismatic director of the burn unit, Hani Mansour; the nurses; the physical and occupational therapists work miracles, celebrating victories and agonizing over setbacks. Honest and intimate in her account of the stress of “distraught parents,” the intense strain upon marriages and relationships, the prolonged suffering and multiple surgeries of the survivors and the evolving friendship of the accidental roommates, Fisher conveys a deep respect and compassion for all involved—except the arsonists. She succeeds in making what might have been yesterday's news into today's inspiration. (Aug.)

  • Cheryl
    2019-05-23 12:38

    After the Fire: A True Story of Friendship and Survival is based on true events. It is under sad and unfortunate events that this story comes about. The day was January 19th, 2000, a day that no one will ever forget. On this fateful day a fire spread throughout the freshman dormitory halls of Seton Hall University. The fire claimed young three lives and injured many more. Robin Gaby Fisher tells the story of two room mates Shawn Simons and Alvaro Llanos and the angels of Saint Barnabas Hospital, who helped saved these two friends. After the Fire: A True Story of Friendship and Survival makes you feel raw, heart-wrenching emotions of sadness, joy and triumphant. After the Fire: A True Story of Friendship and Survival is such a powerful book that it is beyond words on how to explain it. I credit this fact dooly to Robin Gaby Fisher's talent as not only an author and writer but as an amazing story teller. I was blown away from the first moment I picked this book up to read it. If Mrs. Fisher's goal was to show how with lots of strength, determination as well as setting a goal for yourself you can achieve anything; then Mrs. Fisher accomplished that with After the Fire: A True Story of Friendship and Survival. If there is ever one book you must read in your life then it has got to be After the Fire: A True Story of Friendship and Survival by Robin Gaby Fisher.

  • Connie
    2019-05-12 20:40

    "I'm so ugly. What am I going to do?" A survivor of the Seton Hall University dormitory fire in January 2000 asked this in the course of his long and grueling recovery from horrendous burns. Three students died in the fire, and 54 were injured. Robin Gaby Fisher's telling in After the Fire, based on her Pulitzer Prize-nominated reporting for the Newark Star Ledger, is remarkable. I cried all through the book, the stories of two of the badly burned and surviving freshmen, Shawn Simons and Alvaro Llanos. Fisher never over-writes, never under-writes, she is always straight on. The fact that the fire was set by two other students -- who by their spoiled-brat coverup almost avoided accountability but for dogged law enforcement -- could have made the contrast between good and evil stark and simplistic. Joey LePore and Sean Ryan could have taken half the story. Before and after serving two years in prison, they don't. The fire-setting punks, hot-shots in their own eyes, ah...cowards don't achieve. Shawn Simons and Alvaro Llanos are the heroes. Alvaro answers his earlier question: "I know people look at me and think I'm ugly. But then I have to think to myself that no matter what I look like now, I know I'm still me. I'm still the same person inside that I was before I got burned. And I'm going to get better in time."

  • Brenda Humphreys
    2019-04-29 18:25

    After the Fire is a true story about two friends who survived a tragedy. They were victims in an arson fire set in the dormitory building at Seton Hall where they were living. Being randomly selected as roommates, Shawn Simons and Alvaro Llanos immediately became best friends. A few months into their freshman year, in January, someone set a fire in the building where they were living. That one instant changed their lives forever.The author revealed the character's emotions through each step of the recovery, which I liked. If we haven't been through the same experience, we don't know how people feel. Sometimes people feel guilt after a tragic event. Could I have done something different to prevent this from happening? And then there is always, why did this have to happen? There is a lot to think about as I read the story.Overall, I thought this book was good. I'm glad I read it, and it didn't take long.To read more of my review, go to it:

  • Alyson
    2019-05-14 16:16

    This book was recommended to me by a man at the library in the audio book section. We were both looking for books and he said he and his wife had enjoyed listening to it. I appreciated his recommendation and found the story to be very uplifting. The story started immediately with the fire and then spent the rest of the book telling how Sean and Alfaro, roommates, overcame the fire. Being burned sounds like one of the worst experiences that a person could have. Unlike other injuries, they will wear the scars forever. Their recoveries will likely have to occur over their entire lives. The fact that they did recover is amazing. I found myself not only coming to care about them, but their families and the staff at the hospital.I have to admit that I didn't always care for how the author ended the chapters. It seemed a bit cheesy, but it was worth occasional poor writing to hear the story.

  • Kim
    2019-04-29 16:38

    Amazing story. Wonderfully written. Not too graphic but enough to get a feel for what these boys went through. I couldn't put it down. I got so attached to the boys and their team of doctors, nurses and P.T. It's been 12 years since the fire and they are working citizens with families. That is not a spoiler b/c if you look on the front cover you see the two boys and on the front cover states (a true story of friendship and survival).I don't give many 5 stars but this was a 10 in my book. It was wonderfully written and true to the exact story (did my research). Now I want to donate time or letters to the workers and victims. It's a rough job and not many can do it but for those who are burn counselors or treatment nurses and p.t. BRAVO!!!! GOD BLESS YOU.

  • Cindy Dyson Eitelman
    2019-05-25 19:45

    Okay. Here goes.A story of a college dorm fire and its aftermath. A story of two friends, A true story--so be prepared. I don't want to give away even so many details as the cover blurb did, so that is all I will say.I will suggest that you read it rather than listen to it. Listening seemed to drag on and on and repeat itself a little too often--which is to say, a whole lot too often. Sometimes, I just wanted to skip to the end. But I applaud the author's attention to detail, and especially the even-handed treatment of all the players involved--victims, families, doctors, nurses, girlfriends.... It was a lot of ground to cover and she did it excellently well. You will NOT be disappointed.

  • Carrie
    2019-04-27 18:32

    I can't remember the last time I read an entire book all in one day. This was an amazing story about two boys who had to persevere to make it through a horrific event in their lives. The friendship these two had was incredible and those were the parts that made me tear up the most. While I found it difficult to read about all the details covering their treatment and the days following the fire, I still wanted to keep reading to find out how they make it and come out of it on the other side. Fisher did a fantastic job describing these boys' journeys together. I loved it as much as one could love a story about his difficult topic.

  • Hanna
    2019-05-27 14:27

    I picked this book up on a whim. I didn't know what it was about, but I was willing to give it a chance. By the fifth page, I knew I could not put this book down anytime soon. It is a truly touching story about two college kids who survived a dorm room fire in New Jersey. The book brings you to the very heart and soul of the kids were survived. After the Fire maintains such a real sense as you read. I read it in two days and I've never felt so uplifted or inspired by a book. This is wonderful story that I hope everyone has the chance to read.

  • Angie
    2019-05-21 19:38

    I want to say , " WOW!" and leave this review at that , but somehow I can't - I want to struggle to find the words this book so deserves .In January 2000 , a fire was set at Seton Hall in a freshman dormatory . Three students lost their lives and two were terribly burned almost fatally .This is their story - a story of will and survival , loss and love , friendship and commitment . It will make you cry and it will make you smile .With this being the author's first book , she will be hard pressed to top this one !

  • Mari Anne
    2019-05-15 12:37

    A fascinating story of survival and recovery. This true story of two freshman boys who survived the Seton Hall fire but were severly burned, is gripping and definitely touching. The writing though was uneven and felt a bit stilted. When I discovered that the author is a journalist and that it was orginially written and published in a newspaper it made more sense. The book has the feel of a newspaper article and therefore doesn't grab the reader as emotionally as it might.Overall though a really interesting, although depressing, story.

  • Margaret Mechinus
    2019-05-06 15:32

    Listened to this audio book in one day on a very long drive. Kept my attention. She covers all the aspects- the victims and their recovery, the burn center doctor and nurses, other patients at the burn center, burn treatment advances over the years, the police investigation into the fire, the emotional impact on the families, the girlfriends, the trial, the rehabilitation, and an epilogue. She didn't mention the financial impact on the families. Did the university help with that? She hinted at a law suit but didn't elaborate.

  • Alexis
    2019-05-05 18:39

    After the Fire chronicles the recovery of two amazing young men after the fire in their college dorm. The burns these individuals experienced were life threatening and could have killed them at any time. Yet, both young men struggle through the months of agonizing physical and occupational therapy as well as other treatments to come out better human beings.This is a very well written book that not only chronicles these students' recovery but also the investigation into the cause of the fire. It was a quick read. I couldn't put it down!

  • Kathy
    2019-05-24 12:19

    The newspapers and the internet usually just tell the big stories. The Seton Hall fire was one of those stories. The papers told about the fire itself, the number who died and were injured and later about the trial of those who started it. This book tells the story of the two students with the worst burns. It is a dramatic story. The book depicts the horrors of burn recovery and the strength these boys had to endure it.

  • Linda
    2019-04-28 12:46

    the true account of the survival of two college roommates after an arson sets fire to their dorm in New Jersey in 2000. i learned a lot about what burn victims go through and how medical technology has improved in the care of the severely burned. more important, i learned about the emotional adjustments of those scarred for life by severe burns. the book was a little slow, but interesting and informative.