Award winning documentary “One Mother’s Fire: The Gail Minger Story” tells of a fatal campus fire and a mother’s efforts to find the truth

The award-winning documentary, “One Mother’s Fire: The Gail Minger Story,” will be released to the public on September 18, the 20th anniversary of her son, Michael’s, death. This documentary tells the tragic story of how the 19-year-old sophomore died in a residence hall fire at Murray State University in Kentucky, and the years that his mother, Gail, spent trying to uncover the truth of what had happened in a fire that had been deliberately set. Gail uncovered a number of safety issues in the high-rise residence hall that had gone unaddressed for years that contributed to the fatal conditions the night of the fire, detailed in this powerful documentary.

One Mother’s Fire: The Gail Minger Story has been featured in more than a dozen prestigious film festivals internationally, winning several awards for Best Documentary Short along the way. Most recently, it was broadcast several times on PBS station Kentucky Educational Television (KET) and its 16 PBS affiliates.

Michael was a gifted musician and an aspiring broadcast journalist. However, he suffered from organizational and spatial disabilities, and his death led Gail to become a leading advocate for fire safety on our nation’s campuses for all students, but especially for those with disabilities. As a result of her efforts, there are laws in a number of states, including Kentucky, that help to protect students with disabilities. In addition, The Michael H. Minger Foundation, which she formed after Michael’s death, has been awarded several federal grants to develop educational and training materials that are being used at campuses across the country.

The documentary was produced by Diana Nicolae, a professor in the College of Communication & Creative Arts at Rowan University.