UC Merced community reacts to death of student after Oakland fire

Jennifer Mendiola confirmed ot be one of 36 fire victims.

After being considered missing for days following the Oakland fire, Jennifer Mendiola's family found out she was identified as one of the victims.
 
"Most of the grad students can't even believe it we were just talking with her a few weeks ago," says Jose Balesell.
 
35-year-old Jennifer Mendiola is now confirmed to be one of the 36 victims in the Oakland warehouse fire that broke out Friday. 
 
"It is a tragic loss the UC and to the grad students here," he adds.
 
The news of her death is spreading across the UC Merced campus where she was a master of arts student.
 
Mendiola was a teachers assistant in Jose Balesell's class. 
 
"She was full of energy and always had a smile on her when you came up to her she was willing to help," says Balesell. 
 
She was initially listed missing after the warehouse ignited, but Wednesday the coroners office confirmed to her family she passed away. 
 
Now many are reflecting on her passing. 
 
"I just received an email from one of her faculty members just a few minutes ago who talked about her passion, her energy,  her stubborness and her creative spirit," says the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Charles Nies. 
 
Also Wednesday her sister-in-law Ana Mendiola released a statement saying:
 
"Our beautiful Jennifer has been identified. She died without suffering. She was unconscious in 15 minutes and was not touched by the fire she died of smoke inhalation."
 
Her parents described her as having lived a short, but full life. 
 
"I do feel a finality that her life was full and that she had a wonderful varied life accomplishing many of her goals in her life," says Janet Barmby, Jennifer's mother. 
 
Mendiola was in the warehouse called the Ghost Ship with her boyfriend who also passed away in the blaze. 
 
Her father also explained hopefully closure will come when they can properly lay their daughter to rest after this tragedy. 
 
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jennifer's family and friends at this really tragic time," adds Nies. 
 
The UC Merced chancellor says a moment of silence will be held for Jennifer at noon next Monday, it will take place in front of the library. 

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