Fire Kills 3, Injures 62 At New Jersey College
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J.--Three people were killed and 62 injured when fire broke out at a Seton Hall University dormitory early yesterday as hundreds slept. Terrified students clad in pajamas crawled through choking smoke into the freezing cold outside.
Many of the 640 residents of Boland Hall rolled over to go back to sleep when they heard the alarm around 4:30 a.m., thinking it was another in a string of 18 false alarms set off in the six-floor building since September. But many soon heard screams for help, smelled the smoke and saw flames creep under doors.
"It was panic. Everybody was just, 'Go! Go! Go!' " said Nicole McFarlane, 19.
* HARRISBURG, Pa.--State Rep. Thomas Druce, 38, was charged with vehicular homicide in a hit-and-run accident that killed pedestrian Kenneth Cains, 42, last summer. Druce said he left the scene of the July 27 crash after thinking he struck a stop sign.
* CHICAGO--A federal appeals court ordered a new trial for former city treasurer Miriam Santos, saying her extortion trial was marred by an "avalanche of errors." Santos, 44, the Democratic candidate for state attorney general in 1998, had been convicted of threatening to bar Fuji Securities from doing business with the city unless it contributed $10,000 to the Democratic Party of Illinois. She was also convicted of forcing treasurer's office staff to do campaign work on city time.
* SANTA FE, N.M.--The state Supreme Court ruled that people cannot be disqualified from serving as jurors simply because they do not speak English. A county district attorney's office had argued against allowing non-English-speaking jurors, warning that inexact translations could cause problems.
* SEATTLE--Former shipyard employee Kevin William Cruz, 30, pleaded not guilty to killing two men and wounding two others in November at the Northlake Shipyard's offices. Prosecutors said Cruz was angry because benefits for a work-related disability were canceled when the shipyard's insurance carrier concluded he was not injured.
* BATON ROUGE, La.--John Clouser, 34, was accused of stealing $750,000 from Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, spending the money on flowers, food, limousines and an apartment for a string of girlfriends, including one who was a cheerleader for the Washington Redskins.
* PALO ALTO, Calif.--Jim Barksdale, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist who previously headed Netscape Communications Corp., plans to make a $100 million donation to the state of Mississippi to help enhance teacher training and improve literacy among elementary school pupils.
* COLUMBIA, S.C.--Gov. Jim Hodges (D) said the Confederate battle flag should be removed from the Capitol dome and moved elsewhere on the statehouse grounds. In his State of the State address, Hodges said it was time to resolve the issue that led the NAACP to boycott South Carolina and prompted 50,000 people to march in protest of the flag.