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Harrisburg/Hampden Township, PA – Early in the morning of June 10, 2024, a fire broke out in Mechanicsburg near our Harrisburg campus. Around 20 fire engines and 60 firefighters were called to the scene. Unfortunately, the blaze claimed the entire home.

Harrisburg University was notified soon after that six HU graduate students – Abhignya, Prathin, Santhosh, Sushanth, Venkatesh, and Yash – had been displaced by the fire. All six were taken to the hospital and some sustained significant injuries.

The American Red Cross was present onsite as cleanup and relief efforts got underway. In addition to their housing, the students lost all personal items, including their passports, international documents, clothing, electronics, books, and other belongings. The students’ cars were destroyed as well. Unfortunately, these students didn’t have renters insurance or comprehensive coverage on their cars.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known and the Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshall is investigating further.

The University has rehoused the displaced students near campus and provided them with technology and Uber credits for appointments and medical visits. Additionally, counselors have been made available to support the students as they process and recover from this incident.

The University has established the Emerging Stronger Fund to support the basic needs and recovery of these six students. The University has announced that proceeds for the first Harrisburg University Presents concert – Jenny Lewis Live at Riverfront Park – will support the Emerging Stronger Fund at Harrisburg University. Concertgoers can also make direct contributions to the Fund at the concert.

Harrisburg University has partnered with the Asian Indian Americans of Central Pennsylvania (AIACPA) and the Harrisburg Telugu Association to directly support these students. We are grateful for the strong Southeast Asian and Indian community, which has shown tremendous support and compassion for these students during this difficult time. Their solidarity and assistance have been invaluable.

HU leadership will continue to monitor the situation closely and keep our community updated as more information becomes available. If you wish to contribute to the Emerging Stronger Fund or the students’ recovery directly, or you have questions about the situation, please contact Harrisburg University’s Vice President of Advancement, Ryan Riley, at or 717-901-5140. Contributions to the Emerging Stronger Fund are tax deductible.

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Harrisburg University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and is a private, nonprofit university offering bachelor’s and graduate degree programs in the fields of science, technology, and mathematics. For additional information about the University’s affordable, demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, please call 717-901-5146 or email Stay updated by following Harrisburg University on XLinkedInInstagram, and Facebook.