The three people killed in the Marist College house fire in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. have been identified as Marist student Eva Block, 21, of Woodridge, Conn.; Marist student Kerry Fitzsimons, 21, of Commack, Long Island; and former Marist student Kevin Johnson, 20, of New Canaan, Conn.
But while funeral services have begun today for the three victims of the Marist College fire, police say it's still unclear what started the Dutchess County blaze. They did say that the fire appears to have started near the rear of the home and spread upwards.
Worst Fire in Dutchess County History
The fire began on the off-campus house on Fariview Avenue in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Two other female Marist students and their boyfriends, who were asleep when the fire was discovered around 1:30am, jumped out the windows of the 2 1/2 story house and escaped the flames. Block, Fitzsimons and Johnson were not so lucky.
The fire, which began after the housemates and their guests held a dinner party on Saturday evening, is the worst in Dutchess County history.
Today, services for Black, a fashion major, will be held, and services for Fitzsimons and Johnson are expected to follow later this week.
Candlelight vigils were held for the three victims on Sunday at the Marist College Chapel.
Fire Trapped Victims in House
Dr. Kari Reiber, Dutchess County medical examiner, said Sunday that autopsies had yet to be completed on the three victims. She did disclose, however, that Block was confirmed dead of smoke inhalation, not from the fire itself.
While investigators examine the three victims' bodies, police are still trying to discover what started the horrific accident in the first place.
The cause of the fire remains undetermined, but police did comment on a possible origin point.
It appears the fire started at the rear portion of the home and tragically spread very rapidly from there, trapping the three victims in the structure, Police Chief Thomas Mauro told the Poughkeepsie Journal.
In the meantime, Fire Chief Chris Maeder reports that the home itself was razed for safety reasons later on Saturday.
We made the decision... that it was probably safer for everybody involved, especially in light of the fatalities, that we make the structure as safe as possible and that required us taking it down, Maedertold the Mid Hudson News.
'She was phenomenal at what she did.
As Poughkeepsie officials look into the three's deaths, Marist College and and the victims' families focus on remembering their lives.
She was phenomenal at what she did [in fashion], said Philip Greenburg, the boyfriend of Block's mother Barbara.
Katherine Bilsky, meanwhile, a friend of all the victims, said Johnson, an aspiring blogger, was a talented and giving friend.
He always made us laugh, she said. He was just getting in touch with himself artistically. he was exploring photography.
Terry Fitzsimons, Kerry's uncle, called her a beautiful, wonderful young lady, and friend Kay Leydon, 21, said she had applied to physician's assistant school recently.
She's one of those girls that you know she was just going to go places, said Leydon.
'I just keep thinking: Please, please don't be in there.'
But for Ashley Corriss, a 21-year-old sophomore who roomed with Block and Fitzsimons, the memory of Saturday night when she and Leydon saw fire trucks outside the house, and saw online that a fire has started in their friends' home.
I just kept thinking, 'Please, please don't be in there,' Corriss said. The worst part was not knowing.
Marist College, a small liberal arts college home to about 4,200 undergraduate students, has postponed two basketball games scheduled for tonight.
In statement, Marist College's Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs, said the games were put off out of respect for the students affected by this tragedy.