Three adults and six children died in a South Memphis house fire early Monday morning.
Officials are calling it the city's deadliest fire in nearly a century. According to news reports, firefighters
had to break a security door to get into the home, where they were confronted with heavy smoke.
Most of the windows on the home had bars over then, apparently as a security measure.
10 people from the house. Three adults and four children were pronounced dead at the scene. The three other children were rushed to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, but two died there. Officials have determined that the home had a working smoke alarm, and that the blaze was sparked by a malfunctioning power cord to an air-conditioning unit.
Memphis Fire Department Director Gina Sweat said it's uncertain if the security bars prevented anyone from
trying to escape out of the windows. While Sweat said the firefighters are trained to quickly remove such bars,
she added that they do create a danger for people trying to escape a fire. She recommended a quick-release
device that can be installed in windows.
"According to our records this is the most tragic fire loss of life in a single incident since the 1920s," Sweat
said during a press conference. "The hearts of the men and woman of the department are heavy and deeply
touched from the dispatchers who took the call to the first responders who were on the scene."
Members of the fire service making community presentations can utilize NFPA's Security Bar Safety
tip sheet. It provides information on quick-release security bars, which can open easily from the inside.
to take when the smoke alarm sounds, and the best location for working smoke alarms.
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