A fire at a single-family home didn't initially appear serious to Angie Roach; when she and her fellow firefighters arrived on the scene, there was minimal smoke emitting from the structure. The fire, however, was raging in the basement, and when she set foot on the subflooring, it gave way, sending Roach directly into the flames.
Firefighters eventually rescued her, but the damage had been done. She suffered third- and fourth-degree burns on 45 percent of her body. It was a career-ending experience. "After my accident, my life changed tremendously," says Roach. "I was a very active person. I've been married a couple of years. Everything was perfect in my life. Then I was burned. It took me several months to realize I was not the same person I was before the fire."
Roach puts a human face to fire's devastating effects. Her story is one of a number highlighted via the Faces of Fire Campaign, a component of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative that uses testimony from individuals affected by fire to promote home fire sprinklers in one- and two-family dwellings. Sprinkler advocates feel it's easier to convince legislators and state decision makers on the life-saving benefits of sprinklers after hearing stories like Roach's.
"Had that residence had residential sprinklers...I would have been able to continue my career as a firefighter," she says. Check out the following video highlighting Roach's story, and don't forget to take a look at the other personal stories from the Faces of Fire Campaign.