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Source: Heather Reed, 785-532-6432, hreed@k-state.edu
Pronouncer: Vasanta Lakshmi Pallem is Vuh-san-tuh Lacks-schmee Paul-um
News release prepared by: Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, 785-532-1543, ebarcomb@k-state.edu

Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013

University helping students affected by off-campus apartment fire that killed one

MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University is helping students affected by a fire at an off-campus apartment  building around midnight Feb. 7 that killed a university postdoctoral researcher.

Vasanta Lakshmi Pallem, 34, who worked in the university's chemical engineering department, died of smoke inhalation at Mercy Regional Health Center, where she was transported from the blaze at 820 Sunset Ave. in Manhattan. Most of the occupants in the building, just adjacent to campus, are university students. No one else was injured in the fire.

Heather Reed, associate dean and director of student life, said the university is working with the Red Cross, the property manager of the apartment building, the university's counseling services, university police, student financial assistance and others on campus to help students affected by Pallem's death and the aftermath of the fire. Reed said the university worked to find living accommodations for students displaced by the blaze, all of who are now in hotels or staying with friends.