A recent home fire literally has kept a former fire chief up at night. "It is just after 5:30 a.m. as I write this, and I'm doing so now because I cannot sleep," retired deputy fire chief Brian Maltby, wrote in a letter to the Toronto Star. "The tragic and needless fire deaths and injuries in Brampton [Ontario] ... are whirling through my head. They are needless and preventable."
The residence where the fire occurred earlier this month had no working smoke alarms or fire sprinklers. A nineteen year old and her two parents died in the blaze. According to another news publication, a tenant rescued the couple's nine-year-old daughter from the blaze. She is recovering from third-degree burns and smoke inhalation.
The fire would be a "non-event' had fire sprinklers been installed, Maltby wrote. "I am quite confident the family members and friends of the three deceased people in Brampton would have gladly spent [the money] to have had fire sprinklers installed in their home at the time of construction. Sadly, their funerals are likely going to cost more than that. Not to mention the astronomical medical expenses for the injured girl's recovery."
Maltby adds that that while the U.S. has hundreds of communities that have ordinances for home fire sprinklers, Ontario has zero. "Requirements for residential fire sprinklers in newly constructed homes needs to be mandated in our building codes now," he states. "No more preventable fire deaths!"
Now is the time to turn your anger over today's "preventable" home fire deaths into action. Submit similar letters to your local publications, and please share them with NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative team so we can showcase them to our North American audience. Follow chief Maltby's letter as a template: identify your state or region's home fire problem, possibly include information on a recent home fire, and promote the fire sprinkler solution.