Two University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students from Stillwater, Minn., died following an apartment fire Monday morning.
Two other roommates were also injured.
Eau Claire fire officials say the four students were life-long friends from Stillwater. They lived in an apartment above a real estate business on Water Street in Eau Claire, where a police detective on his way to work saw smoke around 6 a.m. Monday.
Two of the four friends escaped the fire, but firefighters found the other two unconscious inside.
Ross Livermore, 21, was the first to be confirmed dead after the fire. Jacob Clarkson, 22, died at Hennepin County Medical Center later on Tuesday afternoon after suffering serious burns. Both were pursuing computer science majors.
Clarkson's family told FOX 9 News their son had been on life support before they opted to let him pass and honor his desire to be an organ donor.
"Jacob enjoyed life and willed that others would have the chance for life too. That's why we're honoring his decision to be an organ donor. We are so proud of him and miss him more than words can say," the family said in a statement.
"It sent a ripple effect to a really close knit community here," said Mike Rindo, assistant chancellor for university relations at UWEC. "Our students really have a lot of close relationships and so it's the kind of thing that we as a university really need to come together to support each other."
On Tuesday, members of the Blugold Marching Band paused to remember Livermore, an accomplished trombone player.
"It's just weird that he's gone," Emily Gresbrink told FOX 9 News. "It could have happened to anybody at any other place. Why Ross? Why Jacob? Why Casey and Garrett? Why did it have to happen to them?"
Gresbrink's roommate was Livermore's girlfriend, and she even introduced the two.
"Over the years that I got to know him and see him with his girlfriend and his other friends who were in the apartment with him, he's probably one of the most genuine people I've ever met," she said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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