After the Fire
January 19, 2000, a fire raged through Seton Hall University's
freshman dormitory, killing three students and injuring 58 others.
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.
"After the Fire" debuts on New
York Times bestseller list Sept. 14
See the "After
the Fire" Facebook page for the latest news and
Alvaro and Robin on WCBS-TV, New York
Review in USA TODAY
"...you almost certainly will put this book down after every chapter
or two, if only briefly, to sigh over the unimaginable pain and
suffering, to dry your eyes and steady your emotions. Then you'll
read on, hoping against odds for a triumphant ending."
Review in Minneapolis Star Tribune
"The book is a riveting and intimate read. That these two men survived
is almost a miracle. That Fisher was there to document it is our
good fortune. "
Review in Rocky Mountain News
"Final word: In 2001, Fisher was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize
for this series but didn't win. She was robbed."
Weekly. June 30, 2008
After the Fire: A True Story of Love and Survival Robin Gaby
Fisher. Little, Brown, $24.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-316-06621-1
Three 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.)
Excerpt from New York Daily News
Nook Club review
"After the Fire is definitely a winner."