Wilfrid Laurier student dies after residence blaze

First-year economics student and rugby player sustained injuries in last week’s residence fire

A 19-year-old student has died after being injured in a residence fire last week at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont.

According to university spokesman Kevin Crowley, first-year economics student and varsity rugby player David LaForest of Toronto succumbed to his injuries Sunday in the burn unit of Hamilton General Hospital.

“This is a sad and difficult time for everyone who knew David,” said Laurier dean of students David McMurray in a written statement. “Our hearts go out to his family,”

Emergency crews were notified of the fire last Tuesday at around 6 p.m., and as the fire tore through two apartments on the fourth floor, more than 300 students were evacuated.

In the aftermath of the blaze, approximately 150 students were forced out of the damaged Waterloo College Hall residence. The university says it will pay for all the moving and relocation expenses of the displaced students.

Damage to the residence has been estimated at about $800,000.

The Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office and regional police are continuing their investigation into the fire. According to the CBC, some officials suspect the blaze originated in the victim’s fourth-floor residence unit.

A memorial service for LaForest is being planned, and grief counselors will be available for any affected students.