Within the span of a day, two home fires in the same state resulted in four people being injured and an estimated $200,000 worth of damage. There were likely news reports on the fire, but the media did not likely discuss the immediate and long-term aftermath of these fires. In the following commentary, Paul Eichler, chair of the Delaware Fire Sprinkler Coalition, sheds light on what will likely follow these fires:
Unfortunately here in Delaware, two devastating fires have been reported that will have long-lasting and debilitating effects on those directly involved as well as the communities where the fires took place. First, three people--two occupants and one firefighter--were injured in an early-morning fire outside of Dover. The dwelling suffered approximately $50,000 in damages.
The second fire occurred in the Scottfield neighborhood near Newark. An occupant of that dwelling was also critically injured. Damages are estimated at $150,000. Both dwellings that suffered fires are described as “uninhabitable."
While the fires happened in two separate sections of the state, the similarities and comparisons are disturbing. Besides the life-changing injuries to occupants, if the people recover from their injuries, they will not have a house to come home to. If the dwellings can be repaired, it will be many months before they are habitable again. Neither house had working smoke alarms. In the Scottfield house, it is reported that no smoke alarms were found at all. This is extremely upsetting to learn as every fire company in the state has an inventory of smoke alarms to provide to residents in their districts. Working smoke alarms provide the notification necessary for early detection of fires. This is not a secret, nor a little known fact.
Also consider the impact to the areas where the fires took place. Neighborhoods will now have these burned-out shells in their presence until some type of remediation occurs. The local environment around these neighborhoods have now been punished with air and water runoff pollution. Delaware is a state that is fighting battles on both of these environmental fronts with little success. These fires just added insult to injury.
I hope that the victims of these fires all have successful recoveries. In the event their homes can be repaired, or if they make plans to rebuild, please consider building with residential fire sprinklers. While working smoke alarms provide early detection of fire and smoke, residential fire sprinklers provide early suppression of small fires. Small fires controlled by sprinkler systems do not become large fires that threaten lives, property, and the environment.
Anyone considering building a new house in Delaware should include residential fire sprinklers in their plans. Do not be put off or dissuaded by your builder. While you will most likely get a quality house, it's the contents that fill your home that cause many concerns in the unfortunate event of a fire.