The winter season is here and more fires are being reported than what you hear about during the other seasons. There were two reported fires within a 48-hour period that could strike close to home. Your child is trapped in the home. Neither your child nor you can get out. You are on the second story floor of the home and the smoke is thick. Your child cannot breathe. You must find a way to get your child out. You are desperate to save your child. How can this be happening to you? How can you help your child?
Two families within a 48-hour period in one city of about seventy thousand people have experienced feelings that no parent ever wants to experience. One parent was helpless to help his daughter, and could only stand by and wait for help, while another parent tried to save his daughter and suffered the greatest loss a parent can suffer, the baby died and he was hospitalized in serious condition.
Both homes had no working smoke detectors working. Both children were on a second story floor. Both families loss their homes as well as their belongings. Both families had no insurance to cover their belongings or the home in one fire. One family loss a child and one family was reunited with their child.
The first fire was reported in the early morning hours, on a cold winter day. The mother and father were downstairs sleeping and the fifteen-year-old daughter was upstairs in bed. An electrical outlet was overloaded and space heater was plugged in as well. This was by the base of the stairs leading to the second floor.
The mother and father were awakened to a computer screen exploding. They soon found the home filling with smoke. They were yelling to their daughter to wake up. She did and discovered that she was trapped in her bedroom with nowhere to go but out the second story window.
The parents exited the house to see their daughter sticking her head out the window. They were unable to help her. All they could do is stand there and watch as the smoke poured out of the window where their daughter stood trying to get air. The first officers on the scene tried to use fire extinguishers to enter the home without success. The fire was hot and the smoke was thick.
They tried to get the girl to jump, but she was scared. She was afraid and could not find the courage to jump. A retaining wall was at the base of your window. This could have been a problem if she would have jumped. No one will really know what could have happened if she would have jumped.
Firefighters arrived and somehow managed to get a ladder up to the girl’s window and the firefighter grabbed the girl and swung her over his shoulder to the ladder. The two then descended to the ground. She was safe and her parents were grateful. This fire had a happy ending for the family as far as everyone getting out safely.
The second fire was reported 48-hours later in the wee morning hours when the temperatures were a mere 17 degrees. A mother, father and their four-month-old daughter occupied the second story. The family had just moved into the upper apartment the day before. They spent hours unpacking before retiring for the night.
The fire broke out in the kitchen of the home and blocked the exit from the bedroom and the stairs to the outside. They were trapped in the bedroom. The smoke poured from the house and the downstairs tenants never heard a thing. The mother was the first to jump from the second story window. She was injured but not severely.
The father had the baby and jumped or fell from the window with the child. He was not as lucky as the mother was and neither was the baby. The father was seriously injured in the fall and the baby died from blunt force trauma sustained in the jump. The father and the baby were not found immediately because they fell so close to the house and smoke was so thick.
The five downstairs tenants were awakened by the police telling them to evacuate the home. This included four adults and a 10-month-old baby. They escape without injury. Two cats and a dog also escaped without injury. They were left homeless with nowhere to go.
The fire was put out. However, not before it destroyed the upstairs apartment as well as the downstairs. Some belongings were safe from the fire downstairs, but water, smoke and fire damage made the home impossible to live in. The man and the baby were rushed to the hospital after being discovered and the baby was pronounced dead. The father was airlifted to another trauma hospital. The mother was hospitalized for a few days and released. After a few days, the father was upgraded to fair condition.
In both fires, the exit ways were blocked by fire. Even if smoke detectors were working, the same conditions may have resulted because the fires did block the stairs. This brings to question one thing for all parents. How can we be sure that our children and ourselves can safely exit our home if there was a fire?
Whether you live on the first floor or the second floor, you should have a window ladder in each sleeping room. These ladders are designed to hook on the windowsills and allow children and adults to climb down to safety. These ladders can save lives. The ladders roll up and are placed by each window. If there would be a fire, the ladder would be used to exit the home.
After the ladders are in the home, each child and adult should know how to use them and how to properly get out the window and onto the ladder. This is so important for everyone’s safety. Just having the ladder does not save lives if the persons who need them do not know what to do. Training with the entire family is needed.
If you cannot find the ladders in a retail store, look online or better yet, ask your local fire department where to get the proper ladders for your home. One ladder can save a life, but ladders in every room can save the family.