Visitation Fire Inspires Community Generosity

VisfireA fire can be a traumatic and damaging event. Unfortunately, it was just such a fire that woke students housed in the Visitation Complex early on March 16 after lightning struck the roof. Around 5:00 a.m., the Dubuque Fire Department was alerted and students were evacuated after flames were spotted by Radio Dubuque employees. Remarkably, all students were able to exit the buildings safely.

While students got out of the building unharmed, the fire and subsequent water damaged belongings, and all 44 students were in immediate need of such personal items as clothing and toiletries. The Loras and Dubuque communities immediately sprung into action. Donations of clothing, bedding, gift cards, food and sundries were gathered that morning and donations poured in throughout the day.

By that afternoon, the Visitation Fire Fund had been established and monetary donations also began to arrive. The gifts given to the fund are benefiting those who were impacted by the fire. To date, the Visitation Fire Fund has received $45,815.81, from 266 individuals or families, and another $235 has been pledged.

While talking about the support she has received, Cara O’Keeffe (’16), a fourth floor Visitation resident who lost almost everything, stated, “The Loras and Dubuque communities have been so supportive. While it is an unfortunate situation to be in, the support we have received is getting at least me through the situation.” Displaced students were provided housing elsewhere on campus.

Although the fire occurred several weeks ago, the damage done to the Visitation Complex is still being assessed. To give your support to the Visitation Fire Fund, please contact Cayla Baresel at 563.588.7328 or or at visit


Campaign Quarterly Feature Story