Jed Boucher's foray into safety advocacy followed one of the most horrific moments of his life. The unfortunate outcome of a fire in his home last year was the loss of the structure and the deaths of his mother and brother. "Ten more seconds in there, and I'd have been killed," Boucher told a Massachusetts publication following the fire late last year.
Smoking materials were the culprit, a reality that Boucher's mom, Brigette, warned of many times before. "My mother was always on us for smoking," Boucher's sister, Denise, said in the story. During the fire, screams to Brigette--lovingly referred to as "Oma" (German for grandmother)--went unanswered. Nick Boucher, Jed's son, attempted to save Oma by breaking her bedroom window but was sidelined by the intense smoke. He also tried to reenter the burning home, but a neighbor stopped him. Firefighters spent an hour extinguishing the fire.
"Something you think could never happen to your family happened to mine," said Jed in the story. "It was the most horrific nightmare you can imagine."
Now on a personal campaign to prevent others from experiencing this horror, the family is touting the importance of smoke alarms, escape planning, and fire sprinklers. Calling the Boucher tragedy "avoidable" in the story, former Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan also supports sprinklers in new homes. Coan is also a member of the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition. "We need to require sprinklers [in new homes] today to change the face of fire tomorrow, so we're not going to see what I've seen over the last 20 years," he told NFPA in 2014. "The fire marshal at that time isn't going to speak to the press about a tragedy. He or she will talk about how nobody died because of sprinklers."