Two children die, babysitter injured in duplex fire: Fire sprinklers could have made a difference

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn Employee on Oct 15, 2012

ChildrendiedAs reported by TribLive.com two children died and a babysitter was injured in an early afternoon fire in Pittsburgh, PA. Fire sprinklers in the home could have saved the children's lives. Neighbors said they could hear the smoke alarm sounding and the children screaming.

Pittsburgh fire Lt. Gregory Niedermeyer crawled on his hands and knees through the thick smoke hoping that reports of two  young children trapped on the second floor were false. “I was praying, I was hoping that nobody was inside,” said Lt. Niedermeyer after he and his crew pulled the nearly lifeless body of one child out of a rear bedroom of the burning brick duplex on Mirror Street. “It was too hot. There was too much smoke.”

According to NFPA statistics, young children and other groups of occupants are at highest risk of dying in a home fire. The two children who died in this incident were 3 and 4 years old. Children of this age are unable to make decisions about escaping - especially this fast moving, extremely toxic fire - due to modern contents made of plastic materials found in today's homes. Fire sprinklers provide additional escape time, which may help save the lives of occupants when fire strikes the home. Fire sprinklers also provide a safer environment for firefighters. Luckily, no firefighters were injured, or worse, in the incident.

Ironically, the State of PA prohibits the requirement of fire sprinklers in new homes. We will continue to see these kinds of tragedies in PA for decades to come.