Charleston, West Virginia fire kills nine, including seven children

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn Employee on Mar 26, 2012

In the early morning hours of Saturday, March 24th, a fire broke out in a home in the City of Charleston, WV, killing two adults and seven children.WVfatalfire

As reported by WCHS, Charleston the call came in at 3:30 a.m. One adult was able to escape. Victims were found on, or near, their beds. Firefighters rescued the victims from the home, but attempts to resuscitate them were unsuccessful.  One child survived originally, but died in the hospital the next day.

Fire in the home poses one of the biggest threats people in communities. Nearly 3,000 people per year die in U.S. home fires. In 2010, 83% of people who died in fires and 68% of those injured, did so in one- and two-family homes. Firefighter deaths in these structures represent 75% as a percentage of all residential structures.

Those at greatest risk are:

  • Older adults – over age 65
  • Children – under 5 years old
  • Persons with disabilities

These high risk groups may not be able to exit on their own, even with working smoke alarms. They may need the additional escape time provided by home fire sprinkler systems. NFPA 13D systems are designed to provide a ten minute escape time.

There was one working smoke alarm in the house but it was not properly installed. A smoke alarm would have provided early warning, increasing their ability to escape. Smoke alarms reduce the chances of dying in a home fire by 50%. The substantially older home was not equipped with fire sprinklers. The risk of dying decreases by about 80 percent when sprinklers are present.

Multiple death fires bring lots of media attention but we must not forget that everyday many people die, or are injured, in fires that do not get any coverage. About 3,000 people, on average, die in home fires every year.

Read follow up story including video…

Maria Figueroa