Four souls were tragically lost in a fire on Monday, January 7, 2013, in Rockford, IL. A great grandmother and her adult son, her 10 year old grandson and 10 month old great granddaughter all perished in the blaze. The fire originated from a Christmas tree and spread rapidly, trapping the family on the second floor.
Despite courageous efforts of first responders, the home was already engulfed with smoke and quick-moving flames by the time they arrived on the scene. The home did not appear to have working smoke detectors according to the two surviving victims. These tragedies unfortunately happen far too often, with a fire claiming an average of nine lives every day in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Fire does not discriminate and can strike at any time and in any type of home, but working smoke detectors and fire sprinklers can help to avoid potential injuries and tragedies from occurring. Properly installed and maintained fire sprinklers control and typically extinguish a fire before the fire department even arrives on the scene. More importantly, the presence of fire sprinklers mitigates the risk to individuals affected by the blaze, including firefighters who battle the fire and are the only proactive form of fire protection.
I urge you to check the batteries in your smoke alarms, educate yourself on the current fire protection requirements in your own city and state, and learn how to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community from the ravages of fire. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their family during this tragedy.
President, National Fire Sprinkler Association