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Fire forced John Kor, his girlfriend, and others from Kor's home within minutes of noticing the flames. Finding a sense of normalcy after the incident won't be as brief.
Kor, 33, and those involved in the August 15 fire in Rapid City, South Dakota, are experiencing the aftermath felt my thousands of others across North America each year. In 2013 alone, there were more than 369,000 reported home structure fires that resulted 2,800 deaths, 12,000 injuries, and nearly $7 billion in direct property damage, according to NFPA. An added component to this data is the excruciating pain of picking up the pieces after these tragedies.
Kor and the others home at the time at the fire weren't injured, but his home was badly damaged and deemed "uninhabitable" when the story first appeared in the +Rapid City Journal.+ "We were able to get some clothes out of there, but a lot was lost," house guest Lonnie Weeg told the paper. Kor's girlfriend added that the experience has made her intimately aware of fire's fierceness. "As soon as we got back to my house, we checked the fire detectors and changed things around a bit."
Kor and the others were supported by the generosity of local residents and the Red Cross, which considers home fires the "biggest disaster threat" to American families. (The organization responds to disasters every eight minutes--the majority being home fires.) In a recent letter to the editor, a Red Cross volunteer from New York shared his experience of aiding others during these tragedies and made a plea for home fire sprinklers in a state that recently voted down incorporating this safety feature in new homes.
"I know that residential structures are going to combust regardless of the safety features installed," wrote Patrick Kelsey in a letter published in the Times Union. "But your home is your castle, and the state should require its construction to be protected by the very best materials and systems available. Until that day, I and hundreds like me will continue to respond to these disasters, and look forward to the day when safety takes precedence over cost."
Hear how others have been affected by home fires, and how home fire sprinklers may have altered the outcome. Spend a few minutes with NFPA's Faces of Fire, specifically Princella Lee Bridges:
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