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Firewatch column from NFPA Journal
In his most recent "Firewatch" column in NFPA Journal®, author Ken Trembay details nearly 20 fire incidents from across the United States, including this blaze from Iowa.

Woman dies in electrical fire

IOWA—A 42-year-old woman died of smoke inhalation in her single-family home when she became trapped in her living room by an electrical fire.  

The two-story, wood-frame home, which was 48 feet (15 meters) long and 38 feet (12 meters) wide, had balloon frame construction with several wall voids leading from the basement to the top floor. The house had no smoke alarms or sprinklers.  

The fire department received a 911 call at 3:49 a.m., and firefighters responded within three minutes to find the house involved in flames. Crews used several hose lines to knock down the fire, but they were unable to rescue the trapped woman, whose body was eventually located in the living room.

The victim’s mother told investigators that she had been wakened by her daughter shouting that she smelled smoke. The mother got out of bed and saw her daughter standing in the living room but did not see any smoke. Just as the victim asked whether she should call 911, however, the room erupted in flames, trapping her. The mother managed to escape unharmed.  

Investigators found several portable electric space heaters in the house, which only had a 60-amp service. The overloaded electrical circuits apparently ignited the house’s wooden structural framing and burned in the voids for quite an extended period before breaching the interior walls and spreading into the house.  

The fire destroyed the home and its contents, together valued at $85,000.

Read all of the Firewatch incidents in the July/August issue of NFPA Journal.

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The results for the annual NFPA Fire Safety Educational Memorial Fund Committee awarded scholarships are in! These awards are given to students who have demonstrated strong leadership potential, exhibited academic achievement and who have contributed to fire safety activities. So without further ado, let’s meet our four extraordinary winners!


Looks like we have another two-time winner! A senior at University of Maryland, Catherine Hamel has once again won the Arthur E. Cote Scholarship! She joined the fire protection department and developed interest in the field due to its prospect of saving lives by utilizing engineering tactics and technology.

Over the past year and a half, she has been involved with departmental research, activates and scholarship. Her work includes a research of stovetop fires as part of a student team. One of her self-proclaimed biggest accomplishment was being inducted into the Salamander Fire Protection Engineering Honor Society in the fall of 2013.

She has also taken on multiple leadership roles, excelled in academics and still found time to give back to the greater College Park community. She plans to pursue a career is fire investigation and analysis.

This Scholarship was established in 2006 to honor Cote’s retirement from NFPA and is awarded to recognize and offer support for undergraduate students pursuing careers in fire protection engineering. 

Domino's logoDomino's Pizza today announced the five fire departments that were randomly selected to receive "FPW-in-a-Box 300" after signing up to particpate in the Fire Prevention Week/Domino's campaign this October. Here are the winners:

  • Assistant Chief Shane Gibbs - Oconee County Emergency Services/Walhalla, SC
  • Michael McAuliffe - Harvey Vol. Fire Co. No. 2/Harvey, LA
  • Chief Michael Vaughn - Washington Fire Dept./Washington, IL
  • LT Tom Mangiameli - Hoffman Estates Fire Department/Hoffman Estates, IL
  • Battalion Chief Rudy Khalaf - District 2 Fire/Rescue/San Antonio, TX

Congratulations to all of you! Once again, thanks to the nearly 60 fire departments across the country that have already signed on to participate in the program.

If you're a fire department that would like to implement the campaign in your community but haven't signed up yet, don't worry - there's still time! Simply fill out the downloadable form and send it to Jeannette Conklin at

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