December 7, 2010

Evan Kullberg, 23, killed in Frostburg State Univ. fire

Two college students from the Washington area were killed Friday in a fire at the off-campus apartment they shared while attending Frostburg State University, in Frostburg, Md., authorities said. They were identified as Evan Kullberg, 23, who graduated from Seneca Valley High School in Montgomery County, and Alyssa Salazar, who graduated from Broadneck High School in Anne Arundel County.

"They were really outstanding young kids who really loved each other and took care of each other to the very end," Kullberg's mother, Karol, said Monday night.

He was a go-getter, a member of the National Guard and an entrepreneur who was part-owner of a pizza parlor in the building where the students lived. She was an early education major and "a really outstanding young woman," Karol Kullberg said. The Maryland state fire marshal's office said the blaze was accidental and caused by an overheated flue pipe that ran from a wood stove out through a wall in the first floor of the building. The blaze spread to an adjacent apartment and up to the students' second-floor quarters, the fire marshal's office said.

The two were found in their apartment by firefighters about 4:20 a.m. Friday, the fire marshal's office said. Their deaths were attributed to smoke inhalation. SOURCE: Washington Post

UPDATE: As family members of a Seneca Valley High School graduate who died in a fire Friday struggle to cope with their loss, they are planning a service to celebrate his life. Evan Kullberg, 23, formerly of Germantown, died Friday morning after a fire broke out in a two-story apartment complex on Main Street in Frostburg, according to Bruce D. Bouch, a spokesman with the Office of the State Fire Marshal. Alyssa Salazar, 20, of Annapolis, was also killed.

"We're hanging in there obviously," his sister, Kathryn Kullberg, said Saturday from the family's home in Gaithersburg. "We're having a hard time, but we feel very warm and touched by all the caring thoughts and prayers from everyone Evan has touched."

The Kullbergs are planning a memorial service for Evan, but have yet to determine the date or location. Kathryn Kullberg said they are not referring to the service as a funeral, but rather a celebration of Evan's life. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but fire officials believe it originated in a common area in the back of the apartment building on the first floor; a wood stove is being considered as a possible cause, Bouch said. Autopsies for Kullberg and Salazar were scheduled for Saturday, but emergency responders believe they likely died from smoke inhalation.

A business major with a love for paintball and electric guitar, Evan Kullberg, a senior at Frostburg State University, co-owned a pizzeria called Malino's Pizza, his sister said. The pizzeria was housed in the space below his second-floor apartment. Kullberg and Salazar were in their apartment and Salazar had called 911 twice before losing contact with responders, Bouch said. Ten other occupants were able to escape from the burning building unharmed, while three rescue officials were injured trying to extinguish the blaze. Bouch said damages are estimated at $200,000.

Evan Kullberg was a member of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps and later joined the Maryland National Guard, Kathryn Kullberg said.

Originally from New Jersey, Kullberg and his family moved to Germantown when he was in the first grade. When his father died seven years ago, Kullberg, despite being the youngest of three children, stepped up and became the man of the house, Kathryn said.


A memorial vigil for Kullberg and Salazar is scheduled at 6 p.m. Sunday on the Frostburg University Campus at the Cordts Physical Education Center Main Arena. SOURCE: Gazette

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