Two fires in two different localities recently caused 14 people to be displaced.
The causes of these fires are common and warrant further discussion. As I sift through the information that has been reported, there are plenty of lessons to be learned.
The first fire occurred in Vinton. A juvenile and some dogs were at the home when a fire started in the front room of the house. Fire officials have determined that the fire was caused by improper disposal of smoking materials. The juvenile and dogs got out safely before firefighters arrived. The house was heavily damaged by fire and smoke, displacing the juvenile, the juvenile’s parents and their dogs. There was no mention in the news report about working smoke alarms. If you remember, a fire trapped and killed several family members in Chesterfield County a few years back from the same cause. Smoking materials should be discarded in metal containers and should not be near combustibles. While talking about smoking materials, no one should smoke while laying on a couch or bed. Many fire-related deaths and injuries have occurred because of a person falling asleep while smoking.
The second fire occurred in Henrico. An unattended, cooking-related fire occurred in a townhome, displacing 11 people. Thirty-seven percent of fires occur due to this cause. No one was injured in this fire, but numerous lives were disrupted. I did not hear anything about properly operating smoke alarms from the news report.
Unattended cooking accounts for the majority of all single- and multi-family dwelling fires. These kinds of fires occur daily.
A proper number of properly placed smoke alarms, a residential sprinkler system and a practiced home escape plan are the only answers I can offer.
I know I sound like a broken record, but until people get it, I will keep repeating it.
Most homes will never have a sprinkler system, but the ones that do have the greatest protection against fire, with the greatest percentage of survivability.
Until next week…