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Aggies, Community Mark 20 Years Since Deadly Bonfire Collapse

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — More than 1,000 people attended a memorial Monday to honor the 12 people who died when a tower of logs collapsed at Texas A&M University 20 years ago.

Texas A&M bonfire memorial on 20th anniversary of deadly collapse
Texas A&M bonfire memorial on 20th anniversary of deadly collapse (CBS 11)

Students and others were building a 60-foot tower with thousands of logs when the pile fell at 2:42 a.m. on Nov. 18, 1999, on the eve of the then-annual football game between the Aggies and the Texas Longhorns.

Bonfire collapse at Texas A&M
Bonfire collapse at Texas A&M on November 18, 1999. (courtesy: KBTX-TV)

Eleven university students and one former student died on Nov. 18, 1999, when a 40-foot bonfire structure holding about 5,000 logs collapsed. Twenty-seven other students were injured.

Janice Kerlee, the mother of a student who died, said those who died were "extraordinary young people" known for their smiles and love for people.

Bonfire stack at Texas A&M
Bonfire stack at Texas A&M (undated photo courtesy: Mark Schnyder)

Texas A&M President Michael K. Young says he hopes Monday's ceremony brings solace to the loved ones of those who died.

John Comstock was among the 27 Texas A&M students injured. 

John Comstock
John Comstock - Texas A&M bonfire collapse survivor (CBS 11)

He was the last survivor pulled from the rubble and is featured in a documentary about the tragedy.

(© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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