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Fire victims' fraternity, sorority members thank community for support

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Leaders of the University of South Carolina fraternity and sorority whose members perished in a deadly house fire at Ocean Isle Beach this weekend are thanking the community for an outpouring of support. Six USC students and one Clemson student died in the fire Sunday morning. Delta Delta Delta sorority president Lauren Hodge said, "As you can imagine this has been an extremely difficult time for our chapter, and for the entire campus as a whole. We have received numerous phone calls, e-mails, flowers and even food sent to the house, and it really means a lot to us to know that so many people are hear for us through these hard time." Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity president Jay Laura said, "Most of my mind is currently dominated by grief, sympathy and despair for the victims' families, but there is a small part of my soul that is smiling as I witness the spirit of the community come together and help those in need. This is the same spirit that brought those students together at Ocean Isle, one of love, caring, fellowship and a shared since of belonging." The university president has made contact with the families of the students presumed dead in the fire who expressed counselors are available to students. Officials say a gathering for mourners will take place tonight and be followed by a candlelight vigil. The roommate of one of the young victims, Amanda Palacio spoke about what happened Monday on Good Morning America. She said Lauren Mahon was her best friend as well as her roommate. The suddenness of her death has been hard to take. Palacio said, "Like any parent, I can imagine, everybody is really shocked. You know, it's definitely the most unexpected thing that could have happened. They're holding up as strong as they can be. They're a really strong family. It's really sad to know that it's such a tough time right now."

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My Heart Goes Out to You

When I read the news about these bright young adults losing their lives to this fire, I was saddened. You just keep hearing that they were wonderful people full of potential. I was extremely frustrated to hear people talk about this as if being a College student and partying etc. was to blame for this accident. I really don't think they were doing anything out of the ordinary for college students although, having lost a friend to a fire I know what it is like to lose someone and have a million questions as to why. I've created a tribute for the friends of these students. http://www.respectance.com/OceanIsleBeachFire If you've got some nice things to say about them or nice photos, I'm sure their parents would appreciate it.