In a span of only two days, three separate home fires claim nine lives

Blog Post created by freddurso Employee on May 23, 2017

Photo: GoFundMe


Media reports from across the U.S. underscore a deadly weekend caused by home fires. Here are the incidents and the people impacted by these tragedies: 


Lexington, Kentucky
Date of fire: May 20, 2017


Four members of the same family died in a Saturday morning fire. Jeffrey and Nancy Brown, 54 and 59 respectively, and their eight-year-old daughter and son, were killed in the incident. Another child was able to escape the blaze. "Jeff and Nancy were just hard-working, honest, salt of the earth people. Nancy was battling cancer. She was going through chemotherapy," Pastor Rick Burdette of Gardenside Christian Church told CBS station WLKY. A GoFundMe page for the family has been established. 


According to reports, fire officials suspect there were no working smoke alarms in the home. 


Windermere, Florida

Date of fire: May 20, 2017


On the same day as the Lexington fire, an elderly Floridian couple, Ken and Susan Ward, were found dead inside their home. According to a story on, initial attempts to check for residents inside the home were near impossible since the home was completely engulfed in flames. A nearby neighbor said the home looked like "an orange fire ball." Trees and foliage near the home hampered entry to the home, the story added. 


"Everybody's in shock," resident Lane Rickerson, who spoke to the couple a day before the fire, told the publication. "It just lets you know that life is short. You got to enjoy every day you got because you just never know."


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date of fire: May 21, 2017


Another elderly couple lost their lives to fire last weekend. Cliff Hickman, 84, his wife Annie, 70, were pronounced dead at the scene, according to an NBC affiliate. The fire also claimed the life of their 30-year-old grandson, who was from Iowa and visiting the couple. 


According to the news report, neighbors could smell the smoke and hear the victim's screams as fire spread inside the home. "Just a great couple," a neighbor told NBC. "Just really sorry. Just really sorry to see them go."


Our region's decision makers need to be alerted--constantly--that home fires are a major threat to all residents. If requirements for home fire sprinklers are not embraced, we will likely continue to see these tragedies for decades to come. Please call or write to your legislators, alerting them to the problem and demand they take action in support of the solution. (Use the points found in this infographic to strengthen your case.) If you are able to tie your pitch to a local home fire, all the better. You can be a change-maker in your community.