The small town of Riddle, Oregon, (population 1,200, according to 2010 U.S. Census data) is mourning the loss of six of their own after a single home fire killed six members of the same family.
According to news reports, a space heater placed too close to combustible materials caused the fire. Reports also indicate that at least one of the home's smoke alarms was working at the time of the fire. Tabitha Annette Howell, 38, four of her own children, and a foster child died in the blaze. The children ranged in age from four to 13. James Howell, listed as Tabitha's husband on a GoFundMe page established for the family, is in critical condition, reports The Oregonian.
"In a small town like this, everyone knows each other and this has been devastating," city manager Kathy Wilson told the publication. "It is just such a tragedy. It's something we've never seen before. It has affected everyone."
“Unfortunately, Oregon has suffered a huge life loss that proves smoke alarms are not enough. Home fire sprinklers, beyond any doubts, might have saved this family's life," Shawn Olson, chair of the Oregon Fire Sprinkler Coalition, told NFPA. "I would hope that one day, the millions of dollars and the energy fighting fire sprinklers in new homes could be focused on educating and finding solutions that work for everyone.”
Please join the Oregon Fire Sprinkler Coalition and others showing their support for home fire sprinklers by advocating for this technology in new homes.