Photo Credit: Associated Press
It was with heavy hearts that four siblings, ages nine months to eight years old, were laid to rest over the weekend. The children were four out of the five that were killed in a home daycare fire in Erie, Pennsylvania. The fifth child, a two-year-old boy, will be laid to rest today.
The cause of the fire is being investigated; it is believed to have started by an overloaded extension cord in the home’s living room. Erie Chief Fire Inspector John Widomski said he suspected the intensity of the fire, which melted the siding on the front of the house and damaged two homes next door, was made worse by furniture in the living room. Officials reported that the house only had one smoke detector, in the attic.
In the wake of the fire, local fire chief Brian Enterline has called for lawmakers to pass legislation that would require sprinklers in all new homes. Enterline cited that Pennsylvania has the third most fire deaths in the country.
Ironically, beginning January 1, 2011, Pennsylvania lawmakers mandated the installation of sprinklers in all new one- and two-family homes. However, with pressure from home builders, that mandate was repealed in April of that same year. Since 2011, there have been nearly 143,000 single-family housing starts in the state.
To learn about how you can advocate for home fire sprinklers in your community, visit the Fire Sprinkler Initiative website.