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Father Recalls Death of Daughter in Off-Campus House Fire

From Cincinnati CBS Local 12, Jan 2, 2012:  This week's fire which left two University of Cincinnati students critically injured brings back some painful memories for a family who lost their loved-one in a blaze near Ohio State. Andrea Dennis died along with four other students in 2003. Local 12's Angela Ingram has more with how Andrea's father has become a fire safety advocate since her death.

The parents of Andrea Dennis have been outspoken since she died. They're hoping the students at UC recover - saying hearing the news of this latest fire brings back disturbing memories.

Andrea was an exceptional student - her parents were excited to see her grow into a phenomenal woman. But, when Andrea was only 20-years-old, she died in the 2003 blaze at an off-campus Ohio State party. "You probably saw the reaction from the mass shooting in Newtown and how devastated the parents are. Losing a child is losing a child. You're numb, you can't believe it happened to you."

Hearing that two UC students were hurt in an off campus fire is upsetting to Andrea's father. Since her death he's received fire awareness awards. He's met with fire chiefs all around the country and pushes for the use of photoelectric alarms. He says ionization smoke detectors are more prevalent - but they're less effective. "They almost are a half hour to an hour slower in a smoky smoldering fire than a photoelectric smoke detector."

Dennis has also been working with state lawmakers. He says statutes and municipal codes should require the use photoelectric detectors. It's a lot of work, but Dean Dennis is commit to saving lives - and to preventing parents from suffering the pain that he and his family have. "We think that Andrea's going to pick up the phone and call. At least every year the thought crosses our mind that there a way that we're going to see her again. Then reality set in and you go on with your life but I just pray to God that those kids make it."

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