UI student sets himself on fire on Krannert rooftop

By Daily Illini Staff Report

A 21-year-old male student from Gurnee, Illinois, died in a fire overnight at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. The Champaign County Coroner’s Office has yet to release his name.

At 2:47 a.m., the Urbana Fire Department and University Police patrol officers responded to a call at the Krannert Center, according to a University Police report.

Six minutes later, the county’s coroner’s office was called.

“Our initial investigation indicates that this was a suicide,” Champaign Coroner Duane Northrop said. “There was a gas can found near his body. At this time we believe that … he used gasoline to set himself on fire.”

Although the county considers the incident an active death investigation, Northrop said it appears to be an isolated event. There is no ongoing concern for public safety.

“We have not made an official determination as far as cause of death yet. This is still an active death investigation,” Patrick Wade, communications director for the University of Illinois police department, said.

The fatal incident happened in the outdoor amphitheater area of the Krannert Center, which is opened to the public.

“Anyone can go there at any time, so that’s how he (the student) would have been there,” Wade said.   

As for who called to report the incident, Wade said that he is not 100 percent sure.

“The way I saw the report is that our officers responded to it,” Wade said. “So it could have been either someone walking by or in a nearby residence hall who made the call, or it could have been one of our officers that may have been driving by and saw the fire.”

In an autopsy conducted by the Champaign County Coroner, preliminary results revealed that the deceased suffered from inhalation burns to the airway and lungs as a result of the fire. Toxicology results are pending.

“At this point, we don’t have any indications that this is anything other than a suicide,” Northrup said.

Wade said that this all the information available for release at this time.

“We will be releasing further updates as they become available,” Wade said. “I expect to have a few over the next couple days, but for now, the information on our website is all we have.”

This is a developing story.

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