Campus & Community

Student dies at off-campus apartment

The University of Denver is mourning the loss of 23-year-old graduate student Lauren Johnson, who died Monday, Jan. 5, of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning at her off-campus apartment.

Denver Fire Department spokesman Lt. Phil Champagne says his department received a phone call at about 4:50 p.m. Monday afternoon alerting that something was wrong at the Josephine Place apartment building at 2035 S. Josephine St., just east of the DU campus. The building is not owned by the University.

Firefighters found one victim suffering from apparent symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning inside a third-floor apartment and detected high levels of the poisonous gas. The victim’s identity hasn’t been released, but Champagne says it didn’t appear that she’d suffered life-threatening injuries.

Firefighters subsequently went into Johnson’s apartment nearby and discovered her inside. The carbon monoxide level was at lethal levels inside the apartment, Champagne says.

Johnson was pronounced dead Monday at 5:17 p.m. at Porter Adventist Hospital.

She was a first year graduate student from Vancouver, Wash., studying human rights at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

“Students, faculty and staff at DU, especially those associated with the Josef Korbel School, are saddened by this tragedy,” says University Spokesman Jim Berscheidt.

The University’s chaplain relayed condolences to members of Johnson’s family during a telephone call. The campus community will be notified when funeral and memorial service arrangements have been made.

Champagne says the gas apparently leaked into the third-floor units from a flue that had recently been repaired following wind damage. The flue allowed gas from the furnace to back up into the top floor apartments. Repairs have been made and the building is safe to occupy, Champagne says. The investigation is continuing.

[Editor’s note: Members of the DU community will gather for a memorial service to remember Johnson Friday, Jan. 9. The service will be held in Cherrington Hall’s Cyber Cafe at noon.]

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