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Two Families Work to Keep Loved One's Memories Alive
CENTERVILLE -- Progress has been made nearly a year after a tragic fire killed two University of Cincinnati students.
Chad Kohls and Ellen Garner were killed early morning New Year's Day 2013.
Now their parents are working on keeping other families from going through the grief and pain they face every day.
"He really cared about people, he would always put people before himself," said Ann Kohls, Chad's mother.
"He was a very passionate person, you know, he would go out of his way to comfort people who were hurting," said Greg Kohls, Chad's father.
Two families, hurting.
"She was our star, she put a star in our eyes," said Anne Garner, Ellen's mother.
"Looking back I can take a cue from Ellen and how she lived and she's taught me how to live," said Rod Garner, Ellen's Father.
Learning to live, without their loved ones.
Ellen and Chad were trapped in the upstairs room of a home near the UC campus when it caught fire nearly a year ago.
"I'm thinking, I can't believe this, this is always someone else's story, and now it was mine," said Rod.
Their story to share, so no other family has to feel the grief they feel every day.
"It is the ultimate pain and loss," said Anne Garner.
That pain has turned into action.
Since the tragic death of their loved ones, the families have had some victories.
The University of Cincinnati has started this website, Cincinnati Safe Student Housing, found here: http://cagismaps.hamilton-co.org/cincinnatiServices/cincinnatiSafeStudentHousing
It keeps a list of homes in the off-campus area that have been inspected by the the local fire department.
Another victory came from city council.
An ordinance demanding off-campus homes have smoke detectors that detect the fires sooner and prohibits windows on the second or third stories from being blocked.
But for the families, their battle is far from over.
"We're not done, and we're going to keep on fighting until these off-campus houses are safe, because fires will always happen," said Anne Garner.
The families are already working on their next step to keep another tragedy like theirs from happening.
They are in talks with several state legislators to create a bill that would make off-campus housing safer statewide.
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