A recent fire in Gallatin, Tennessee, could have ended in tragedy, but for fire safety equipment, the quick thinking of the dad, and fire safety behaviors.
According to the Tennessean, the Gallatin Fire Department stated that the family lived in a rental house and was under the impression that a wall heater in one of the children’s bedrooms did not work. The heater kicked on in the middle of the night, starting a fire. The smoke alarms in the home woke up the father, who in response, got his family out of the home. He then shut the bedroom door to the child’s room where the fire started. NFPA’s safety messaging, including the heating safety tip sheet and the Educational Messages Desk Reference reminds us to keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from the heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable heater and to have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional. In addition, the Desk Reference and Escape Planning tip sheet state that a closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.
“My professional opinion is that the working smoke [alarms] saved this family’s lives, and the father’s quick thinking on shutting the door saved the family’s home,” said Gallatin Fire Department Deputy Fire Marshal Elizabeth Bednarcik. “Too often we read about the tragic fires and not the successful stories.”