Five children lost their lives during a Greensboro, North Carolina, residential fire this month. News reports state that the two boys and three girls, ranging in age from 18 months to nine years old, were refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The fire started in the kitchen, and the home did not have working smoke alarms, according to a CBS affiliate that obtained this information from the North Carolina Department of Insurance.
"People tell me all the time that, 'I know my way out. I know my house,'" Greensboro Fire Department Timothy Henshaw told a local Fox station. "Even in a house that you live in and when that smoke is on the floor, the toxic gases are so hot. They become super-heated. You become unaware of what's going on."
According to NFPA, you may have as little as one to two minutes from the time a smoke alarm sounds to safely escape a fire. Per NFPA's research, three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
In a separate fire incident this month in Asheville, North Carolina, NFPA has received a report that a kitchen fire was controlled by a single fire sprinkler. A family was displaced, but the activation resulted in no injuries or deaths.
NFPA research confirms the live-saving abilities of working smoke alarms and home fire sprinklers; according to NFPA's most recent "U.S. Experience with Sprinklers" report, the home fire death rate was 90 percent lower when fire sprinklers and hardwired smoke alarms were present.