Late last month, Rick Davis, mayor of Caruthersville, Missouri, died of apparent smoke inhalation from a fire in his home. A news report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch states he was on the job for only a few months before his death. (He also served a term several years ago, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.)
Davis is the third official to die in office in recent years, per the article. The tragic nature of his death--coupled with the fact that he was the 31st fire victim in Missouri this year--prompted an opinion piece by Chris Gaut, regional manager for the National Fire Sprinkler Association. He notes that in 2011 property loss from residential fires totaled an estimated $45 million. "Despite this loss, Missouri is still resisting sprinkler systems in one- and two-family homes," states Gaut.
Gaut adds that Davis' death will hopefully remind the public of the realities of fire and the impact sprinklers can have in protecting lives. "I can only hope that the silver lining in the tragic loss of such a prominent and well-respected community member like Mr. Davis is that his death will serve as a reminder that fire does not discriminate, and can strike at any time and in any type of home."
Learn how Missouri sprinkler advocates are combating fire deaths--visit the Missouri Fire Sprinkler Coalition webpage.