Early Thursday morning, a fire turned deadly at 448 South Prospect Street in Burlington.
"There was smoke coming out of every window and door in the building," said Jack Metcalfe, a UVM student who witnessed the fire.
University of Vermont officials confirm that Kathleen Cook, the University's Associate Director of Residential Life died in the blaze. "I have seen her around and she was well liked," Metcalfe said.
Metcalfe watched the fire from his nearby dorm. He knew Cook as a familiar and friendly face on campus. "She was always happy, she was always helpful -- brought the community together," he said.
UVM Police Chief Lianne Tuomey says no one else was inside the University-owned building during the fire. She says it was not accidental but would not give details about how it started or how Cook died. "I can assure you no foul play was involved and this was not the result of an accident or problems inside the building," she said.
In her online bio, Cook praises her UVM team for its commitment to diversity, social justice and students. Colleagues like Tuomey praised her for being a good person. "The death of a colleague is a challenging thing and the University community is a small community, and just because we're law enforcement officers doesn't mean we're not human beings underneath this uniform," Tuomey said.
As the University prepares to say goodbye to the 16-year employee, officials and students on campus say their thoughts are with her loved ones. "We are all really sorry. We are all a big family and we are here for you," Metcalfe said.
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