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UCLA student found dead after Roebling structure fire

A UCLA student was found dead Monday morning after a fire at 10954 Roebling Avenue. (Austin Yu/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Alejandra Reyes-Velarde, Shreya Maskara, and Roberto Luna Jr.

Sept. 21, 2015 10:29 a.m.

The post was updated on Sept. 25 at 12:10 a.m.

A UCLA student was found dead Monday morning after a fire in her Roebling Avenue apartment.

Police responded to a call about 7 a.m. to a first-floor apartment at 10954 Roebling Ave. The unit belonged to several members of the Pi Beta Phi sorority.

LAPD spokesman Aareon Jefferson said police found the student dead when they arrived at the scene. LAPD spokesman Barry Montgomery, who was at the crime scene, said detectives have not identified a person of interest, and denied accounts that one had been identified. Previous reports stated that the student’s boyfriend was identified as a person of interest.

UCLA officials said in an email statement Thursday police are investigating the case as a homicide and arson.

Other students later identified the student as Andrea “Andy” DelVesco, who was entering her fourth year at UCLA and studied psychology and Spanish.

It is unclear how the fire started. LAPD is asking anyone who has any information or saw anything suspicious to call detectives at 213-486-6890.

About 32 firefighters put out the fire in 15 minutes, according to an LAFD tweet.

Jefferson said it is unknown whether the student was dead prior to the fire starting or died during the fire.

Pi Beta Phi sorority members were called in for an emergency meeting after the death was announced this morning. A member of the sorority said they were asked not to comment on the incident.

Jacquie Medeiros, Pi Beta Phi Chapter president, said in an email statement Thursday the fraternity will continue with the recruiting process in honor of DelVesco.

“I can understand why some may find it hard to understand this choice,” Medeiros said. “However, preparing for recruitment has allowed us an outlet to remember Andy, refocus on our sisterhood and help us begin the healing process.”

She also asked the community to remember DelVesco was a dear friend.

“Losing a friend is hard no matter the circumstances,” she said. “We know Andy would have wanted her Pi Phi sisters to move forward and celebrate the friendship we share.”

Friends posted worried messages and condolences on DelVesco’s Facebook page.

Scott Huh, a third-year civil engineering student who lives in the Roebling building, said he woke up to the sound of fire alarms early Monday morning.

“Everyone was screaming and the fire kept getting bigger and bigger,” Huh said. “Everyone kept yelling her name but no one dared to go inside as the fire was too big.”

Huh added he spoke to DelVesco last night before the incident.

“She was a very outgoing and fun person,” Huh added.

No further information was immediately available. The case is still under investigation.

Compiled by Roberto Luna Jr., Shreya Maskara and Alejandra Reyes-Velarde, Bruin senior staff.

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Alejandra Reyes-Velarde | News editor
Reyes is the Daily Bruin's News editor and an Editorial Board member. Previously, she was the Science & Health editor covering research, the UCLA health system and graduate school news. She also writes Arts & Entertainment stories and photographs for the Bruin.
Reyes is the Daily Bruin's News editor and an Editorial Board member. Previously, she was the Science & Health editor covering research, the UCLA health system and graduate school news. She also writes Arts & Entertainment stories and photographs for the Bruin.
Shreya Maskara | Assistant news editor
Roberto Luna Jr. | News senior staff
Roberto Luna Jr. is currently a senior staffer covering Westwood, crime and transportation. He was previously an assistant News editor from 2015-2016 and a News contributor from 2014-2015.
Roberto Luna Jr. is currently a senior staffer covering Westwood, crime and transportation. He was previously an assistant News editor from 2015-2016 and a News contributor from 2014-2015.
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